Coliseum scandal

The Times has been re­port­ing for more than a year on fin­an­cial ir­reg­u­lar­it­ies at the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum, stor­ies that have triggered sev­er­al crim­in­al and civil in­quir­ies. Three former Coli­seum man­agers, two na­tion­ally prom­in­ent rave pro­moters and a sta­di­um con­tract­or have been in­dicted in the scan­dal. Full cov­er­age

A Coli­seum of­fi­cial, John Sand­brook, shares with USC a brief­ing he said he re­ceived from Los Angeles Coun­cil­man Tom La­Bonge re­gard­ing the gov­ernor’s thoughts on the ne­go­ti­ations.
Coli­seum ex­ec­ut­ive John Sand­brook warns a USC of­fi­cial, Kristina Raspe, about a Tro­jan fan web­site ur­ging the Coli­seum and sur­round­ing Ex­pos­i­tion Park — which are owned by the pub­lic — be turned “in­to a true ex­ten­sion of the Uni­versity of South­ern Cali­for­nia cam­pus.”
A Los Angeles Coli­seum of­fi­cial, John Sand­brook, gives pub­lic re­la­tions and ‘nose-count­ing’ tips to USC in its ef­fort to take over man­age­ment of the sta­di­um.
L.A. Coli­seum ex­ec­ut­ive John Sand­brook asks a USC vice pres­id­ent, Todd Dickey, if he knows an al­tern­ate sta­di­um com­mis­sion­er who might play a role in a key vote.
Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum in­ter­im gen­er­al man­ager John Sand­brook test­i­fies in an open-gov­ern­ment law­suit filed against the Coli­seum com­mis­sion.
Emails between Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum ex­ec­ut­ive John Sand­brook show him and com­mis­sion­ers de­fer­ring to USC on mat­ters of trans­par­ency. In this ex­change, Sand­brook and a Coli­seum com­mis­sion­er, Los Angeles County su­per­visor Don Knabe, drop the idea of a sep­ar­ate pub­lic hear­ing re­gard­ing the pro­posed deal after a USC vice pres­id­ent, Todd Dickey, op­poses the idea.
Coli­seum ex­ec­ut­ive John Sand­brook and USC worked to­geth­er to urge USC alumni to post en­dorse­ment mes­sages on the Coli­seum’s web­site, ac­cord­ing to re­cords. The tac­tic gen­er­ated more than 2,800 pos­it­ive re­sponses, which Sand­brook cited in a re­port to the com­mis­sion as evid­ence in sup­port for the lease.
After a re­ceiv­ing a re­port that then-Los Angeles may­or Ant­o­nio Vil­larai­gosa was miffed at not re­ceiv­ing ad­vance no­tice on the lease terms, USC vice pres­id­ent Todd Dickey writes to Coli­seum of­fi­cials that USC’s pres­id­ent, Max Niki­as, and oth­ers have been lob­by­ing the may­or.
USC shares lob­by­ing strategy with a Coli­seum of­fi­cial. “Our trust­ees are work­ing on him,” re­fer­ring to per­suad­ing Gov. Jerry Brown to sup­port the USC lease of the Coli­seum.
Oct. 4, 2013  By Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II
Read the rul­ing by Los Angeles Su­per­i­or Court Judge Lu­is A. Lav­in find­ing that the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum Com­mis­sion vi­ol­ated both the state’s open meet­ings law, the Ral­ph M. Brown Act, and the Cali­for­nia Pub­lic Re­cords Act. The Times and a 1st Amend­ment group, Cali­for­ni­ans Aware, had sued the gov­ern­ment agency for meet­ing im­prop­erly in secret and re­fus­ing to provide cer­tain re­cords to The Times.
These 100 or so pages of doc­u­ments are emails sent to or writ­ten by of­fi­cials of the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum and their rep­res­ent­at­ives. They were sent an­onym­ously to, among oth­ers, Gov. Jerry Brown, May­or Eric Gar­cetti and many oth­er pub­lic of­fi­cials. The com­mis­sion un­suc­cess­fully sought a court or­der to stop the Los Angeles Times from pub­lish­ing these re­cords or in­form­a­tion from them. They are un­ed­ited and con­tain coarse lan­guage. ...
The gov­ernor’s of­fice said it would work to en­sure re­duc­tions in park­ing rev­en­ue do not af­fect the op­er­a­tions of the the Cali­for­nia Sci­ence Cen­ter, Cali­for­nia Afric­an Amer­ic­an Mu­seum and Ex­pos­i­tion Park.
Page 6 of this opin­ion writ­ten by the Le­gis­lat­ive Coun­sel cites an ex­ist­ing state rule re­quir­ing the Cali­for­nia Sci­ence Cen­ter to “man­age or op­er­ate its park­ing fa­cil­it­ies in a man­ner that pre­serves and pro­tects the in­terests of it­self and the Cali­for­nia Afric­an-Amer­ic­an Mu­seum and re­cog­nizes the cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al char­ac­ter of Ex­pos­i­tion Park.”
Cali­for­nia of­fi­cials in Sac­ra­mento have un­veiled a pro­posed agree­ment that would give the state’s bless­ing to a deal to hand over man­age­ment of the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum to USC.
A judge ruled that The Times could not be stopped from re­port­ing on testi­mony from the top man­ager of the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum in a de­pos­ition for an open-gov­ern­ment law­suit. Los Angeles Su­per­i­or Court Judge Lu­is A. Lav­in said that in ask­ing the court to deny Times re­port­ers ac­cess to the testi­mony and a pro­hib­i­tion against art­icles about it, the com­mis­sion sought “es­sen­tially a gag or­der.”
A draft re­port by a con­sult­ant, Sing­er­Le­wak, found nu­mer­ous fin­an­cial prob­lems at the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum. The re­dac­tions in this doc­u­ment were made by the Coli­seum Com­mis­sion.
Few­er than 15% of top man­agers in the health­care and not-for-profit sec­tors re­ceived car re­im­burse­ments on par with those giv­en to Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum man­agers.
The fin­an­cially troubled Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum Com­mis­sion is su­ing its former aud­it­or for more than $11 mil­lion, al­leging that it failed to de­tect er­rors in fin­an­cial state­ments between 2007 and 2011, a time where al­leged cor­rup­tion en­snarled the tax­pay­er-owned agency.
The Ex­pos­i­tion Park Mas­ter Plan of 1992 called for the cre­ation of more parks where park­ing lots ex­is­ted. Ex­pos­i­tion Park is state-owned land that is home to the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum and neigh­bor­ing Sports Arena, Cali­for­nia Sci­ence Cen­ter mu­seum, Cali­for­nia Afric­an Amer­ic­an Mu­seum, and the Los Angeles County Nat­ur­al His­tory Mu­seum.
This let­ter from the Cali­for­nia Le­gis­lat­ive Black Caucus urges state of­fi­cials to re­ject a pro­posed deal giv­ing USC con­trol of state-owned park­ing lots sur­round­ing the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum.
Map of the Ex­pos­i­tion Park Mas­ter Plan, call­ing for more parks to be built to re­place park­ing lots.
July 19, 2012  By Rong-Gong Lin II and Paul Pringle
The Times and a 1st Amend­ment group, Cali­for­ni­ans Aware, sued the Coli­seum Com­mis­sion, ac­cus­ing it of vi­ol­at­ing state laws by de­lib­er­at­ing a lease in secret with USC and fail­ing to re­lease nu­mer­ous pub­lic re­cords.
June 6, 2012  By Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II
A state of­fi­cial, Robert Stein, who chairs the Cali­for­nia Sci­ence Cen­ter board of dir­ect­ors, sharply cri­ti­cized the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum Com­mis­sion for its hand­ling of ne­go­ti­ations to turn over op­er­a­tion of the Coli­seum to USC and said state rep­res­ent­at­ives should take over all talks on the sta­di­um’s fu­ture. The fol­low­ing is Stein’s pre­pared com­ments to the Sci­ence Cen­ter board, which he de­livered on June 6, 2012.
May 11, 2012  By Rong-Gong Lin II and Paul Pringle
Amid a state in­vest­ig­a­tion of the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum’s top ex­ec­ut­ive, Coli­seum Com­mis­sion mem­ber and City Coun­cil­man Bern­ard C. Parks de­man­ded that the pan­el delay a Monday vote on sur­ren­der­ing stew­ard­ship of the pub­lic sta­di­um to USC.
April 17, 2012  By Rong-Gong Lin II and Paul Pringle
The be­lea­guered Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum Com­mis­sion un­veiled a pro­posed lease agree­ment Tues­day that would sur­render pub­lic con­trol of the his­tor­ic 88-year-old sta­di­um to USC.
April 13, 2012  By Paul Pringle, Rong-Gong Lin II and Andrew Blankstein
A new city re­port as­sails of­fi­cials in charge of the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum for fail­ing to im­pose even ba­sic fin­an­cial con­trols, al­low­ing the routine squan­der­ing of pub­lic money and per­mit­ting cor­rup­tion to take root in “a dys­func­tion­al and risk-prone cul­ture.”
April 4, 2012  By Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II
Staggered by a fin­an­cial scan­dal that un­fol­ded on their watch, the pub­lic of­fi­cials who run the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum are pre­par­ing to turn over con­trol of the tax­pay­er-owned sta­di­um to USC un­der a lease that would de­liv­er it in­to private hands for up to 42 years. The Times ob­tained a copy of a con­fid­en­tial draft of the lease agree­ment.
March 23, 2012  By Andrew Blankstein
The 29-count in­dict­ment ac­cuses six people, in­clud­ing three former top man­agers for the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum, of con­spir­acy, em­bez­zle­ment and bribery charges for al­legedly steal­ing mil­lions from the his­tor­ic sta­di­um. Two top rave pro­du­cers were also in­dicted.
March 22, 2012  By Andrew Blankstein
A second com­pany with ties to the Los Angeles Coli­seum said Thursday they an­ti­cip­ate that their chief ex­ec­ut­ive will be ar­res­ted by in­vest­ig­at­ors from the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.
In­voices ob­tained by The Times show that the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum ap­proved cash ad­vances to the stage­hands uni­on, the In­ter­na­tion­al Al­li­ance of The­at­ric­al Stage Em­ploy­ees.
The Jan. 10, 2012 amended law­suit by the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum Com­mis­sion against Patrick Lynch, Todd and Carisse DeStefano, their private firms, and Go Ven­tures and In­som­ni­ac.
Sept. 29, 2011  By Paul Pringle and Andrew Blankstein
Wealthy de­veloper Rick Caruso resigned Wed­nes­day from the scan­dal-plagued Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum Com­mis­sion, end­ing a stormy ten­ure dur­ing which he clashed fre­quently with fel­low pan­el mem­bers over their stew­ard­ship of the sta­di­um.
A private com­pany foun­ded by Leo Cau­dillo, tech­no­logy man­ager at the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum, has re­ceived about $30,000 in pay­ments from the pub­licly owned sports and en­ter­tain­ment com­plex. At­tached are cop­ies of some pur­chase or­ders he sub­mit­ted re­quest­ing pay­ments to the com­pany, HH Tech. The or­ders are au­thor­ized by Ron­ald Leder­kramer, the Coli­seum’s chief fin­ance of­fi­cial. Also at­tached is a copy of a state­ment Cau­dillo filed with the gov­ern­ment ...
March 3, 2011  By Rong-Gong Lin II
The Cali­for­nia De­part­ment of Al­co­hol­ic Bever­age Con­trol has ac­cused the Los Angeles Me­mori­al Coli­seum of mul­tiple vi­ol­a­tions of their con­di­tion­al al­co­hol li­cense dur­ing the Elec­tric Daisy Car­ni­val rave last year, in­clud­ing al­low­ing teen­agers to con­sume al­co­hol. The Coli­seum was also ac­cused of al­low­ing con­sump­tion and sales of al­co­hol out­side of its li­censed area, such as the park­ing lot. Pen­al­ties for a vi­ol­a­tion of an al­co­hol li­cense can range from a ...
Jan. 26, 2011  By Rong-Gong Lin II
USC Pres­id­ent C.L. Max Niki­as warned stu­dents from at­tend­ing raves, which he called “a spe­cif­ic danger that has be­come in­creas­ingly pre­val­ent” in Los Angeles. He spe­cific­ally re­ferred to raves held near USC at the Coli­seum and Shrine Aud­it­or­i­um, and warned that be­cause the hal­lu­cino­gen­ic drug Ec­stasy is com­mon at the events, “they present ser­i­ous risks to all who at­tend.” The let­ter, re­leased on Jan. 26, 2011, was dis­trib­uted a week ...