Two former Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum top executives whowere accused last year of mismanaging public funds were arrested Thursday,along with the owner of a music promotion company.
Former General Manager Patrick Lynch was arrested at hishome in Torranceby investigators from the district attorney’s office, according to JaneRobison, a spokeswoman for the office.
Former events manager Todd DeStefano was arrested at afriend’s home in Venice, while Go Ventures Inc.owner Reza Gerami was taken into custody at his home in Malibu, Robison said.
No information was immediately available about why the threewere arrested, Robison said.
The Coliseum Commission sued Lynch and DeStefano inNovember, alleging that the pair mismanaged funds and diverted money for theirown use.
The Superior Court lawsuit also named Go Ventures and InsomniacInc., alleging that they conspired with Lynch and DeStefano to deprive the Coliseumand its next-door sports arena of revenue from rave performances held since1998.
From August 2006 through January 2011, Lynch allegedlyreceived nearly $400,000 in money diverted from payments that otherwise wouldhave been received by the commission, according to the lawsuit.
Lynch and DeStefano both resigned from their posts.
DeStefano’s attorney, Richard G. Hirsch, said his clientnever bilked
any money from the commission, and all of his activitieswhile working for the Coliseum were approved by his supervisor.
“Todd DeStefano did exactly what Coliseum Commissionersasked and expected him to do–make the Coliseum and Sports Arena aprofitable enterprise,” Hirsch said. “Rather than owning up to theirfailure the manage the Coliseum, a group of commissioners with the help of thedistrict attorney are trying to turn attention away from their ownmismanagement by manipulating the facts to support unfounded criminal chargesagainst Mr. DeStefano.”
Hirsch said the commission delegated all responsibility forrunning the Coliseum to its staff, yet “failed to provide any direction,training or policies and procedures required of governmental agencies.”
The commission decided to file the suit after a months-longinvestigation by its attorneys, Coliseum Commissioner and Los Angeles CityCouncilman Bernard Parks said. Parks said the two managers likely fleeced theColiseum of well over $1 million.
Parks’ chief of staff, Bernard Parks Jr., told City NewsService today’s arrests were “a predictable outcome.”
“Usually when the district attorney and the federalgovernment and local authorities get involved to this level, the results arepredictable,” the younger Parks said.
He said it was too early to say whether there might be morearrests. He called the alleged abuses of public money a “terriblyunfortunate and historically unfortunate incident for the Coliseum.”