At a Friday news conference, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer announced the lawsuit.
"Time Warner pocketed the money from its subscribers," said Feuer. "We allege it pocketed that money, and then did not turn it over to the city of Los Angeles, and they did so in 2011 at precisely the time when we needed it the most."
The money that Feuer contends Time Warner owes is for franchise fees, the money Time Warner is supposed to pay instead of rent to install and maintain cable boxes; and from public, educational and governmental channel fees. Those are the fees that were required until 2009 for public access and governmental channels.
"The money we allege in this complaint would fund 100 police officers," said Feuer. "It would fund 50 miles of sidewalk repair. It would fund the trimming of 60,000 trees in the city. It's real, it's material, and it's time the taxpayers of L.A. received an amount of money that, relative to the billions of dollars that Time Warner derives from its franchise here in Los Angeles, is very nominal for them. It's material for us."
Time Warner cable declined an Eyewitness News request for an interview, but did release a statement: "As a major job creator, tax contributor and service provider in the City of Los Angeles, Time Warner Cable is an active and responsible corporate citizen in the City of Los Angeles. We are disappointed the City has chosen to bring this action, which we strongly believe is without merit. It will now be resolved through the legal process."
Feuer says the city has been trying to negotiate with the cable giant for years, and will now take the matter to court if necessary.