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2 Former Top Execs for L.A. Coliseum Arrested, Pair "likely fleeced" Venue of Over $1M [UPDATED]
Two former top-tier execs of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum have been arrested, as well as the owner of a music promotion company, says a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.City News Service reports that Coliseum former General Manager Patrick Lynch and former events manager Todd DeStefano were taken into custody today, as well as was Go Ventures, Inc. owner Reza Gerami.
No specific information was immediately available regarding why the three were arrested, says the DA's office, however, the men have been the focus of a long-running investigation into dealings at the venue. In February 2011, the DA began taking a look at DeStefano's work records to see if he was in violation of California's conflict of interest laws after suspicions were raised that he was allegedly concurrently working for a company that put on events at the venue, aka doing some shady dealings.
"The Coliseum Commission sued Lynch and DeStefano in November, alleging that the pair mismanaged funds and diverted money for their own use," adds CNS. The suit named Go Ventures, and Insomniac Inc.,--the promoters of the controversial Electric Daisy Carnival--and alleged that they were co-conspirators in depriving "the Coliseum and its next-door sports arena of revenue from rave performances held since 1998."
Both Lynch and Stefano resigned their jobs with the Coliseum amid the hubub
Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks that the DeStefano and Lynch likely fleeced the Coliseum of well over $1 million.
UPDATE 11:30 AM
Richard G. Hirsch, DeStefano's attorney, says his client did not bilk any money from the Coliseum or the Coliseum Commission, CNS reports. Hirsch adds that DeStefano did all his tasks in his post under the approval of his supervisor.
Hirsch continues in a statement about his client's arrest that attempts to clearly shift the onus of blame onto the Coliseum Commission: "
Todd DeStefano did exactly what Coliseum Commissioners asked and expected him to do -- make the Coliseum and Sports Arena a profitable enterprise. Rather than owning up to their failure the manage the Coliseum, a group of commissioners with the help of the district attorney are trying to turn attention away from their own mismanagement by manipulating the facts to support unfounded criminal charges against Mr. DeStefano.''
The attorney added that the although the Commission delegated responsibility to the staff to run the venue, the group "failed to provide any direction, training or policies and procedures required of governmental agencies.''