|Front gate of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Cooley said a criminal Grand Jury returned the 29-count felony indictment late Tuesday, charging former Coliseum general manager Patrick Lynch, former events manager Todd DeStefano, former technical manager Leopold Caudillo Jr., music and event promoters Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami, and janitorial contractor Antonio (Tony) Estrada.
“Our Public Integrity Division prosecutors and D.A. investigators have done an outstanding job in putting this case together, and I commend them for their tireless efforts,” Cooley said. “My office has thoroughly investigated and will aggressively prosecute this public corruption case.
“We look forward to presenting our evidence in court.” The indictment was unsealed this morning after DeStefano, Lynch, Gerami and Rotella appeared before Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg and pleaded not guilty. Defendants Caudillo and Estrada have not been arrested or arraigned because they are out of the country. The indictment alleged that Lynch, 55, and DeStefano, 39, participated in a variety of schemes beginning in 2006 that siphoned money from the city- and county-owned stadium, into their own pockets.
DeStefano, who quit in January 2011, allegedly received more than $1.8 million from Insomniac, the company that produced the Electric Daisy Carnival, and Go Ventures, which also sponsored Coliseum events. In exchange, DeStefano used his public position to limit the payments due the Coliseum and ensure the concerts continued even after a highly publicized fatality after one of the concerts in the summer of 2010. DeStefano also allegedly directed vendors and film production companies that shot movies and commercials in the venue to pay his private company “LAC Events.”
DeStefano is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit embezzlement, 15 counts of embezzlement by public or private officer or agent of public funds, two counts of accepting a bribe, and five counts of conflict of interest. The indictment alleged Insomniac’s owner, Rotella, 37, and the owner of Go Ventures, Gerami, 37, paid DeStefano $1.8 million for use of the Coliseum and to help them keep costs down when they rented the facility for rave concerts.
They are charged with one count each of conspiracy and bribery and multiple counts of embezzlement. Lynch, who resigned as general manager in February 2011, is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit embezzlement, six counts of embezzlement and one count of conflict of interest. Although Lynch allegedly didn’t profit from deals between DeStefano and the two music promoters, the indictment alleges he was aware of the agreements and facilitated DeStefano’s arrangement with them. The indictment alleges Lynch did profit from his own arrangement with Tony Estrada, the owner of “Services for All Events,” a janitorial company that cleaned the stadium.
Estrada allegedly wrote 239 checks to Lynch totaling $385,000, giving some to Lynch and depositing others directly into a Miami bank account that Lynch set up. In return, Lynch allegedly authorized Estrada’s company to bill the Coliseum at a higher rate. Estrada, 72, is charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit embezzlement and embezzlement. A third Coliseum employee, Caudillo, 41, was charged with one count of conflict-of-interest after he allegedly directed stadium business to a firm he founded, HH Tech.