Goldenvoice President Paul Tollett – who was unavailable for comment at press time – told the paper next year’s festival would be the last one at the Empire Polo Club. However, the newspaper, in a clarification, later stessed Tollett more accurately was indicating a "could" rather than "would."
City councilman Sam Torres, who has had little support from his fellow council members, wants to add a 5 percent to 10 percent tax on admissions to entertainment events of more than 2,500 people. Because of the lack of support, he is moving forward with a petition to put the proposal on the November ballot.
Tollett has calculated the tax would add $36 to every ticket, and said he would not pass that expense on to festivalgoers. Goldenvoice would wind up eating $4 million to $6 million because of it. And the promoter is not waiting for the proposition to pass.
“If the tax initiative of putting $4 million to $6 million onto Coachella gets on the ballot, we’re going to take off 2014; 2015 we’ll be at a new facility outside Indio,” Tollett told the Sun.
Goldenvoice planned to buy 80 acres of land comprising Eldorado Polo Club, Triangle Bar Farms, Fish Creek and other property. The Eldorado club is used for camping during the festivals
Alex Haagen III, owner of the Empire Polo Field, said he is on board with Goldenvoice to build a new venue elsewhere.
Torres forwarded to the paper text messages he received from Goldenvoice VP Skip Paige.
“The deal to purchase El Dorado Polo Club is DOA,” a June 18 text reportedly reads. “We are entering into escrow on 600 acres at 62 and Van Buren (in the unincorporated Vista Santa Rosa community.”
On June 21, Paige texted, “You know we’re moving right? All this is a game. Why in the world would we stay where we are not wanted. LQ doesn’t want us, Indio wants to take all our profits. It’s a joke.
“We made the decision to move out of Indio the day we got our 2 year permit and George (Williams, husband of former City Councilwoman Melanie Williams) tried to sue us.”
Tollett told the paper that, to this day, he doesn’t want to leave.
“Actions speak louder than words,” he said. “We tried to buy Eldorado. Does that say we wanted to leave?”