Indictment Unsealed In LA Coliseum Contracts Probe

31_Das L.A. Coliseum

Below is a news summary by Megan Stonecipher, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University.

(from Billboard Magazine, March 23, 2012) Former executives and concert promoters are being accused of embezzling millions of dollars from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. There are a total of six people under scrutiny, including former executives, rave promoters, and other Coliseum contractors. The indictment claims twenty nine counts of bribery, embezzlement, conspiracy, and conflict of interest. Todd DeStafano, Assistant Manager for Events, Pasquale Rotella, Owner of Insomniac Inc, and Reza Gerami, Owner of Go Ventures Inc, all have bail set at $1.2 million dollars. Former General Manager, Patrick Lynch had bail set at $800,000. DeStefano and Rotella are expected to be released, while Gerami and Lynch have not yet presented bail plans and will not be released immediately.

The Coliseum formerly hosted Super Bowls and Olympic Games but was reduced to hosting rave concerts. One of these drug-fueled raves led to a woman suffering from an overdose and dying. Prosecutors are citing this event while they oppose bail, and claim that promoters were unphased by the death. They are also claiming that promoters used bribes to get access to the venue. Rotella’s company, Insomniac Inc, puts on the Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic music festival, which in 2010 saw a death of a teenage girl who had overdosed on ecstasy. Prosecutors said, “Promoters have managed to bring the events to conventional venues but have faced resistance from the public due to continued drug use and other safety issues.” Deputy District Attorney, Max Huntsman said that the promoters learned that “the best way to overcome such resistance is always to use an inside man.” The inside man happened to be DeStafano, who gave promoters access to the facility and other property at low rates. The promoters made millions, while the Coliseum lost $2.5 million dollars.

The University of Southern California, which sits adjacent to the Coliseum and leases the property as an athletics venue, is looking to take over daily operations of the facility.