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Title: San Diego Demands $10 Million in Back Rent from SeaWorld Amidst Dispute

The City of San Diego has entered into a heated dispute with SeaWorld over an alleged $10 million in unpaid back rent.

While city officials are adamant about the outstanding payment, the popular theme park insists they do not owe the sum and refuses to pay up.

The issue came to light during a recent Budget Review Committee meeting where representatives from the Department of Real Estate and Airport Management were discussing their budget.

Council President Sean Elo Rivera expressed his frustration and condemned SeaWorld for withholding the city’s funds while local communities continue to face hardships.

He made it clear that the theme park’s refusal to pay was unacceptable, stating, “SeaWorld should be ashamed of themselves for holding on to $10 million of the city’s money while communities are struggling.”

The dispute revolves around unpaid back rent, which the city initially notified SeaWorld about over a year ago.

According to the city treasurer’s formal audit, SeaWorld owes more than $9.7 million from 2020, including late penalties and interest.

The audit has been seen as confirmation of the outstanding amount, prompting city officials to demand immediate payment.

Brian Mouse, the director of the Department of Real Estate and Airport Management, affirmed that SeaWorld should be held accountable for the approximately $9 million owed, along with late fees and interest.

Mouse emphasized that negotiations should not be necessary, stating, “They owe us $10 million, and I want that money now.”

Despite the city’s claims, SeaWorld remains steadfast in its position.

In a statement, the theme park acknowledged the City of San Diego as a great partner and expressed their commitment to resolving the issue.

SeaWorld’s lease with the city operates on a yearly basis, usually based on a percentage of their gross income.

However, due to the pandemic-induced shutdowns in 2020, their lease stipulated a minimum annual charge of $10.4 million, along with a 3% surcharge.

The audit revealed that only $2.2 million had been paid for that year.

City officials argue that SeaWorld’s failure to pay the agreed-upon amount is unjust, especially considering their substantial revenue and profit.

In fiscal year 2022, SeaWorld attracted nearly 22 million visitors across its three theme parks, generating $1.7 billion in revenue and a net profit exceeding $290 million.

As tensions escalate between the City of San Diego and SeaWorld, the local community is urging swift resolution and emphasizing the importance of investment in the city’s needs.

City officials remain resolute in their demand for the unpaid back rent, with Brian White concluding, “They owe us money.

They should have paid it to us in San Diego.

I hope they pay us their money with interest.

This is super simple.”

The clash between San Diego and SeaWorld continues, and the outcome of the dispute remains uncertain as both parties stand firm on their positions.

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