Six accused of bribery, embezzlement in Coliseum scandal indictment
The six people indicted in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum scandal are charged with conspiracy, embezzlement and bribery and are accused of stealing millions from the historic stadium, District Attorney Steve Cooley announced.
A criminal grand jury returned the 29-count felony indictment late Tuesday against 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 Tony Estrada.
The indictment alleges that Lynch and DeStefano siphoned money from the city- and county-owned stadium into their own pockets.
The indictment caps a 13-month investigation by the district attorney's office, triggered by Los Angeles Times reports on a corruption scandal involving millions of dollars in questionable transactions at one of the nation's most storied stadiums.
"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."
The defendants have maintained that they have done nothing wrong.
In exchange, Cooley alleges, DeStefano "used his public position to limit the payments due the Coliseum" and ensure the highly-lucrative raves continued even after the drug overdose death of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez after attending an Electric Daisy Carnival rave concert 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.
DeStefano is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit embezzlement, 15 counts of embezzlement by a public or private officer or agent of public funds, two counts of accepting a bribe, and five counts of conflict of interest.
Rotella and Reza are charged with one count each of conspiracy and bribery, and multiple counts of embezzlement. The D.A. alleges that the two paid DeStefano $1.8 million to use the Coliseum and to help keep costs down while they rented the facility for rave concerts.
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.
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.
-- Rong-Gong Lin II, Andrew Blankstein and Paul Pringle