Coliseum Deals Uncovered

A former events manager for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum earned at least $1.7 million from side deals with companies that did business with the commission overseeing the venue in recent years.

The discovery has shed new light on Todd DeStefano’s involvement in a scandal that rocked the coliseum commission earlier this year and led to conflict-of-interest investigations and the resignation of former commission GM Patrick Lynch.

It’s also raised questions about the commission’s financial standing during the same period as net income reportedly decreased substantially while DeStefano was benefiting from those deals, according to records obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

DeStefano previously disclosed in state-mandated filings that his two consulting firms collected thousands of dollars in secret payments from Insomniac Events and Go Ventures, as well as from Coca-Cola, Southern Wine & Spirits, TV and film production companies and the University of California.

However, the scale of those payments recently became much clearer through documents the Times obtained under the California Public Records Act.

DeStefano’s LAC Events and Private Event Management companies were reportedly paid about $800,000 by Insomniac and about $876,000 by Go Ventures over the past few years. He also received $70,000 from Coca-Cola after the beverage maker was sent an invoice on commission letterhead directing it to cut a check to his company for the Coliseum’s share of drink sales, sources close to the matter told the paper.

In addition to the side deals, DeStefano reportedly earned $189,000 annually through the commission, plus perks including more than $1,500 in massages, a $600 per month car allowance and $21,000 in free event tickets.

DeStefano attorney James Blatt has said his client, who Lynch knew was working as a paid consultant on the side, has done nothing wrong and received just compensation for the years he spent drawing business to the Coliseum and Los Angeles Sports Arena.

“Instead of being praised for bringing profitable events for the Coliseum on a continuous basis, he’s become a victim of his own success,” Blatt told the Times.