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Former Coliseum manager sentenced in bribery scheme

City News Service | 7/12/2018, midnight
A former technology manager at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was sentenced this week..
Sentenced Bribery

A former technology manager at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was sentenced this week to informal probation for his role in a $1.8 million bribery and kickback scheme.

Leopold Caudillo Jr.—who directed stadium business to a firm he founded—previously performed 100 hours of community service and paid $2,750 in restitution, as required under the plea agreement he reached last year with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Caudillo’s conviction, which was based on his no contest plea to a conflict-of-interest charge, was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor at the sentencing hearing. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy ordered that his one year of summary probation would be deemed completed as of payment of a required court fee, which Caudillo has already paid, according to a court clerk.

Four other defendants—who were indicted along with Caudillo six years ago – were sentenced earlier.

Former Coliseum general manager Patrick Lynch was sentenced last year to three years probation for his March 2012 guilty plea to a conflict-of-interest charge. He was also ordered to pay more than $385,000 in restitution to the Coliseum Commission, perform 1,500 hours of community service and serve 14 days in jail—all of which he had already done by the time he was sentenced.

Former Coliseum events manager Todd DeStefano pleaded no contest in 2016 to a felony conflict-of-interest charge and was sentenced to six months in jail, ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution and three years probation.

Rave music promoter Reza Gerami, the owner of Go Ventures Inc., pleaded no contest in 2016 to a misdemeanor charge and was immediately sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution.

Pasquale Rotella, the founder of Insomniac Events, pleaded no contest, also in 2016, to misdemeanor conflict of interest and was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to make a $150,000 payment to the Los Angeles County Treasurer/Tax Collector.

Antonio Estrada, a janitorial contractor indicted in the case and alleged to have paid kickbacks to Lynch, remains a fugitive.

The case was spurred by a Los Angeles Times report of financial irregularities at the arena. Prosecutors said DeStefano provided the rave promoters with access to the Coliseum and low rates in exchange for more than $1.8 million in kickbacks from Rotella and Gerami.

One of DeStefano’s attorneys, Richard Hirsch, countered in 2016 that “there’s been a totally false impression of what actually happened here,” and said the defense would have proven that “Todd DeStefano was a great employee and asset to the Coliseum Commission” had the case gone to trial.

Kennedy had been critical of prosecutors’ handling of the case and had also expressed concern about the lack of checks and balances in place at the sports venue.

“Unless someone shines a light ... there’s nobody in charge,” the judhe said at an earlier hearing. “Things go awry and that’s what happened here.”

USC took over management of the Coliseum in 2013, and renovation project to upgrade the 95-year-old stadium is underway.