Two former L.A. Coliseum officials and a promoter have been arrested as part of a corruption scandal that has rocked the publicly run venue. Former Coliseum general manager Patrick Lynch, events manager Todd DeStefano and promoter Reza Gerami were arrested this morning by investigators from the District Attorney’s office, Jane Robison of the District Attorney’s office told the LA Weekly. It has been reported that all kinds of shenanigans were happening at the venue in recent years, including, as the Weekly first reported, the shuffling of under-the-table cash to union stagehands who probably should otherwise received payroll checks for their work.
The payments were said to have been made by event promoters. That amounted to hundreds of thousands if not more than a million dollars. On top of that, DeStefano was accused, in reporting by the Los Angeles Times, of taking money on the side — $1.5 million or more — from event organizers and promoters. And Lynch, who allegedly stood by while all this happened, reportedly took advantage of perks and loopholes and was even accused of getting a publicly paid-for car out of his employment. A tipster told us that “indictments” would come down this week. The District Attorney’s office isn’t commenting further.
The furor at the Coliseum started after a 15-year-old girl died of an overdose after following her attendance of the 2010 event there called Electric Daisy Carnival. There was a public outcry, and promoters had to lobby and fight to maintain their four-times-a-year events at the Coliseum and the Sports Arena. The promoters and their representatives seemed smug and confident as they attended public meetings with Coliseum commissioners who include some of the most powerful leaders in Los Angeles, and the Times started digging. The paper soon alleged that the promoters were in bed with DeStefano and had paid his own side events companies hundreds of thousands of dollars to help them put on their electronic music shows.
Soon it was clear that the promoters could not muster the political support to keep on going at the venues, and they were shut out. In the meantime it came to our attention that members of a stagehands union were allegedly paid under the table, which would be illegal, for their work at events. In a subsequent lawsuit against Gerami, Lynch, DeStefano and EDC promoter Pasquale Rotella (who was not arrested), the Coliseum alleged that Lynch received kick backs for stagehand and cleaning workers’ pay since 2006 that amounted to $394,716.
As part of all the alleged scheming the Coliseum claimed more than $1 million in losses.
As we summarized previously, the suit …
… accuses the defendants of filing false government claims, breaching fiduciary duty (for Lynch and DeStefano), fraud (for Lynch and DeStefano), unjust enrichment, (for Lynch, DeStefano and his wife), conspiracy to defraud (for Lynch, DeStefano and his wife), having a personal financial interest in government contracts, unfair business practices, breach of contract, negligence and more.