West Ham United’s dispute with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has continued after the club refused to retract comments claiming that the organisation deliberately misled the public when discussing details of its rent to play at London Stadium.
The feud started last week when Lyn Garner, chief executive of the LLDC – the stadium’s landlord – said that West Ham’s annual rent of £2.5m to play at London Stadium does not cover the cost of staging matches.
Garner said this is “the elephant in the room” in terms of the stadium’s finances. West Ham responded by saying that it was concerned Garner’s comments were “deliberately misleading the public and, more importantly, taxpayers”.
West Ham’s statement last week added that the club pays “£3m in rent due to additional annual fees that have been introduced since our agreement in 2013 and a further £6m was received by our landlord from the food and beverage sold at our matches. With additional fees we pay for services at the London Stadium, the total revenues received from West Ham United and our activities is £10m a year.”
Earlier this week, the LLDC disputed West Ham’s claims and insisted it is paid about £3m a season by the club. A letter by LLDC chairman Sir Peter Hendy said that West Ham’s response was “an extremely serious and damaging statement to make against public officials appearing before elected assembly members and we will be asking West Ham to retract the claim.”
Hendy’s letter added that West Ham’s claim that the LLDC receives £10m from its association with the club is “simply wrong”.
West Ham has now refused to retract claims that the LLDC misled the public and the club’s vice-chairman Karren Brady has said that the stadium landlord has “not managed costs competently”.
In a letter addressed to London Assembly chairman Tony Arbour and seen by the BBC, Brady said: “We are staggered that the operating costs at the London Stadium exceed revenue.”
Brady added: “In our view, the actual elephant in the room is the E20’s (LLDC’s) failure to manage the operating costs competently.
“I would like to make clear to you that at no time did West Ham state that LLDC officials had lied. We said the statement Ms Garner had made was misleading the public because it did not present all the facts. We stand by that statement.”