Billionaire Gets $52 Million in Taxpayer Money

Thursday, 12 May 2011 04:35 PM

By Martin Gould

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Billionaire Eli Broad is to get $52 million in taxpayers’ money to pay for a parking garage for his grandiose downtown Los Angeles art museum.

The deal, agreed to by the city council, is the final peg in the plan to house Broad’s huge collection, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

The money for the 370-space structure will come from funds for a redevelopment project for L.A.’s Bunker Hill area. Proceeds from parking fees will go to the city.

Democratic Councilman Bill Rosendahl said it was important no money from the city’s general funds go to the parking garage. “The fact is the city is broke,” said Rosendahl. We need to make sure that this will not be costing us anything."

Broad, who made his fortune with the retirement savings company SunAmerica, is a major donor to Democratic politicians. He is also one of the West’s most generous philanthropists.

Much of his collection, which includes major works by modern artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns and Damien Hurst, is housed in an old telephone switching station in Santa Monica because he ran out of wallspace. His museum is scheduled to open within the next two years.

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