SeaWorld San Diego was sued by the city of San Diego for unpaid rent

SAN DIEGO — SeaWorld San Diego was thrown into limbo Thursday after it was served with a lawsuit by the city where the company operates.

The lawsuit claims the theme park owes $12.23 million in unpaid rent, penalties and interest on the nearly 200-acre city property.

Attorney Mara Elliott announced the lawsuit around 11 a.m. on behalf of San Diego taxpayers she says are owed by the company.

“SeaWorld owes San Diego taxpayers more than $12 million, a crime they acknowledged in their annual report,” Elliott said. “Their efforts to shift their financial obligations onto hardworking San Diegans are abhorrent and will not be tolerated. ”

According to its annual report, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. had revenue of $1.7 billion last year. According to Elliott, under the terms of its lease agreement with the city, the theme park must pay at least $10.4 million per year plus a 3% surcharge.

The lawsuit comes after the San Diego City Council voted to sue the company in May.

FOX 5 has reached out to SeaWorld for comment on this matter. Amusement park representatives said:

“While we do not comment on potential litigation for political reasons, we have a longstanding relationship with the city and remain confident in our ability to resolve this matter. We have worked with the city for nearly 60 years, conducting thousands of animal rescues, numerous recycling drives and many other events. We have also paid more than $146 million in lease payments to the City of San Diego since 2010. We appreciate everything the city has done and look forward to addressing this situation.”

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