Hey! I Broke That

by Adam Popescu

It happened back in February. Watching City Hall like a hawk, I saw that City Manager Jeff Kolin was meting with Google during the closed sessions of City Council. Closed session is the (smoke-filled) back room where deals are made between the city and businesses. Behind closed doors.

Kolin told me Google was going to sign a lease with the city; it was just a matter of time. I was surprised how open he was. I searched far and wide and no one had this story. I wrote it knowing that, knowing that it was a big story. I put it on the front page of the Beverly Hills Courier and kicked back to what I thought would be a positive response.

After I published, city workers in the communications department smiled and even laughed at Google on the cover. Is that the best you can do, Adam? WTF, I thought. Either they didn’t know what was going on, or I had made a mistake. But I knew I didn’t make a mistake. Why would Kolin lie? I knew he didn’t, but that nagging fear common to journalists still gnawed at my stomach. Could I have somehow made a mistake? No, couldn’t be…but still, I waited and waited for another publication to pick up the piece and start writing about the move. But for almost two months, nothing.

At that time, others doubted Google’s move, even a good friend in commercial real estate. He reasoned that if the Mountain View company had spent millions on their recently-acquired Venice location, why would they want to come to Beverly Hills?

Apparently, the 331 Foothill Rd city-owned property will be home to Google’s $100 million dollar YouTube venture, a project Google recently called a cheap way to make television. (Not a big fan of spending big bucks and then calling it cheap, but that’s just me…). Still, succeed or fail, important pages in the future history of technology, social media and television will likely be made there.

Today I read about the deal in a copy of the LA Times. I’d been waiting for this. No mention of my piece, not shocked there.

Online, on The Hollywood Reporter, the “scoop” by my former cub-journo colleague Daniel Miller, who reported a lease to the tune of 11-years at $6.3 million. No mention of my Courier story breaking the deal. I looked elsewhere. Nowhere did I find a mention.

If I wasn’t angry, I felt it was only right to stake my claim and present a time-line of events. So, following the news trail, I commented in that vein at FishBowlLA. And here we are. Sometimes the most interesting stuff never makes it to the audience. Left on the cutting room floor.

—Adam Popescu