Coliseum GM Pleads Guilty

The former general manager of the embattled Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum pleaded guilty to a single criminal count of conflict of interest March 28 in an agreement that could see him avoid a lengthy prison sentence.

As part of the deal, Patrick Lynch will repay some $385,000 he allegedly received from a Coliseum contractor, be placed on probation for three years and perform community service, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Lynch’s plea followed a week of corruption charges over a long-running investigation into the Coliseum that also yielded the arrests of the venue’s former events manager Todd DeStefano and Go Ventures CEO Reza Gerami March 22.

Days later, an indictment released by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office implicated three more people in connection with the scandal including the head of rave promotion company Insomniac Events.

Specifically, the 29-count indictment charged the group with conspiracy, embezzlement, bribery and conflict of interest, the Times said, and noted the activities dated back to 2006.

Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rotella appeared in court March 23 to surrender to authorities in connection with the corruption charges. However, in a statement, his attorney Gary Jay Kaufman called the claims “baseless.”

“Pasquale Rotella has always acted lawfully and appropriately with respect to all of his dealings with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Any allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Rotella by the District Attorney’s office are completely baseless and flat-out wrong, both on the law and on the facts,” Kaufman wrote. “All transactions between Insomniac and the Coliseum were transparent and approved by the Coliseum General Manager, his staff and the attorneys representing the Coliseum.

“While we recognize that issues surrounding the Coliseum demand attention, we are extremely disappointed that the District Attorney would seek to have Mr. Rotella arrested when he did nothing wrong.”

Other people named in the indictment included the state-owned Coliseum’s former technology manager Leopold Caudillo, Jr., and a former contractor with the stadium Tony Estrada, according to the Times. Estrada is reportedly at large and suspected to be in Panama.

While Lynch and DeStefano have been subject to several local, state and federal investigations during the past year over questionable financial activities, DeStefano has thus far denied the charges. Gerami has also said he’s done nothing wrong.

DeStefano attorney Richard Hirsch argued in court during a recent bail reduction motion that his client is the “scapegoat of all scapegoats” in this case of venue mismanagement.

DeStefano received approval from Lynch to work on the side with rave promoters, generating substantial revenues for the venue, of which he was awarded a percentage of additional fees, Hirsch said.

“There exists a significant issue as to whether there was any loss at all. This was not Coliseum money,” he added. “There was no theft. Nothing was stolen from the Coliseum.”

Bail for four of the defendants has reportedly been set at amounts ranging from $800,000 to $1.2 million.