Chutzpah? Company Cited For Unpermitted Supergraphics on Historic Hollywood Hotel Seeks Millions in Damages From the City

"Clash of the Titans" supergraphic being installed on east wall of hotel.

A company accused of maintaining illegal supergraphic signs on the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel the past four years is seeking millions in damages, claiming that enforcement efforts by the city of L.A. have made it impossible to guarantee advertisers continuous coverage on the walls of the iconic Hollywood Blvd. building.

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Lawsuit Against City Attorney Seeks to Bar Arrest of Sign Law Violators and the Setting of “Excessive Bail.”

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, Supergraphic on Office Building Near LAX

(Update:  On April 2, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins denied the request for a restraining order against City Attorney Carmen Trutanich)

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by the president of three outdoor advertising firms and a property rights group, also lists 15 “parties of interest”, including the building owner arrested last month and held for a weekend in jail on $1 million bail after allowing a huge unpermitted supergraphic sign to be put up on his Hollywood Blvd. building.

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Supergraphics Firm Loses Bid for Contempt Citation, Big Fine Against City

World Wide Rush supergraphic on National Blvd. After the city filed criminal charges against the sign company and property owner, alleging numerous building and fire code violations, the sign was removed.

If you think sign companies use the courts to intimidate the city, you’re not alone. In a ruling today, U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins said she suspected that a contempt motion brought by World Wide Rush was actually intended to get the city to abandon criminal charges it filed against the company over an illegal supergraphic sign installed last year on an office building next to the 10 freeway.

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Disappearing Supergraphics: No More Open Season in L.A. For Rogue Sign Companies?

Supergrapic, top, put up earlier this year along 10 freeway by company called Vanguard Outdoor, removed on March 24

Following on the heels of last week’s highly-publicized decision by CBS Outdoor to remove two illegal supergraphic signs in Hollywood, other unpermitted supergraphics have quietly disappeared, although it remains to be seen whether or not the buildings will remain unswathed by the giant mesh and vinyl advertising signs that are big revenue generators for sign companies.

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UNCOVERED: After Six Years, Giant Supergraphic Ads Finally Come Down

CBS Outdoor has finally removed illegal supergraphic ads that have long dominated the surroundings of this 1926 building in Hollywood.  As reported in the L.A. Times, the company, a subsidiary of CBS Corp., agreed to remove the 11-story signs after being sent a cease-and-desist letter by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.   A complaint about the two 27,000 sq. ft. vinyl ads was registered with the city in 2004, and an order to comply was issued by the Department of Building of Safety in June, 2006.
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How Was This Eight-Story Supergraphic Ad For a Movie Permitted as an “On-Site” Sign?

"On-Site" supergraphic sign, left, locked office door, right

The supergraphic sign above for the movie “Prince of Persia” on a Westwood office building is legally permitted as an on-site sign, which the L.A. sign code defines as a sign directing attention to a product or service generally sold or offered on the premises where the sign is located.   There is no movie theater in the Wilshire Blvd. building, or the offices of the movie production company, so how can the sign be considered legally equivalent to the sign on the local hardware store or dry cleaners?

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Advertising on Illegal Billboards and Supergraphic Signs? Movies, TV Shows, Baseball, More…

After the March 26 arrest of the man who allowed a giant illegal supergraphic sign on his Hollywood building, The Wrap, which covers Hollywood entertainment news, published an article about the predominance of ads for TV shows and movies on illegal signs around the city and the fact that advertisers aren’t held responsible for the actions of  media agencies, sign companies and others involved in the illicit placement of these ads.
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FRAUD: Another Site by “Defender of Artistic Freedom” Goes Commercial

Supergraphics on building at 4929 Wilshire Blvd. A third face is covered with a statue of liberty image.

Back in October, we asked the question–What will be next?– for a Wilshire Blvd. office building displaying a multi-story supergraphic image of the Statue of Liberty, the calling card of Michael McNeilly, self-proclaimed artist and owner of Skytag, Inc.  That question was answered last week by the appearance of supergraphic commercial ads for a Style Channel TV program on two faces of the building.

See related article here and here.

Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: Fuel Outdoor Signs in L.A. Coming Down

Signs shown on Lincoln Blvd. were installed four years ago, taken down last week

Fuel Outdoor, the rogue sign company that failed to win a lawsuit challenging the city’s right to ban new off-site advertising signs, has begun taking down the movie-poster style signs installed without permits in a number of locations.  Whether the New York-based company intends to remove all its estimated 200-plus signs is not known.

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Supergraphic Signs: Carmen Trutanich, the Code of Hammurabi, and Excessive Bail

Detail of bolts and cable holding supergraphic sign on Hollywood Blvd. building. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said the 8-story sign could pose a hazard to people on the street below.

The highly-charged debate about the $1 million bail set for a man accused of allowing an illegal supergraphic sign on his Hollywood Blvd. building brings to mind the 2,500-year old Code of Hammurabi, which prescribed a penalty of death for any builder who put up a house that fell down and killed its owner.  This is thought to be the beginning of building codes, and the modern system of permits and inspectors that embodies the idea that people should not have to rely on builders and property owners to assure them that the structures they live and work in and pass by in the streets won’t cave in on their heads or easily burst into flames.

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