Audit finds Coliseum officials failed to impose financial controls
An audit report released Thursday by the Los Angeles city controller hammers the commission that runs the scandal-stained L.A. Memorial Coliseum for failing to impose the simplest of financial controls and routinely squandering public money, such as $870,000 sent to South America for soccer matches that were never held.
The audit by Controller Wendy Greuel’s office also found that the commission gave its disgraced former general manager, Patrick Lynch, an annual bonus of $125,000 for several years without requiring him to undergo a performance review.
In trying to explain how corruption had taken root at the Coliseum, the 70-page report says the commission -– made up of three county supervisors and three appointees each of the city and state -– permitted Lynch to manage the taxpayer-owned stadium in a “dysfunctional and risk-prone culture … void of essential formal policies, procedures and protocols.”
“The tone at the top was not suitable for a government entity,” the report stated.
Lynch has pleaded guilty to a single count of conflict of interest to avoid trial and a possible lengthy prison term. Like Greuel’s audit, the criminal investigation followed Times stories on financial irregularities at the Coliseum.
Much of the audit report mirrors disclosures by The Times, including inappropriate payments to Lynch and the stadium’s former events manager, questionable spending by other officials and the delivery of about $1 million in cash to a union representative for stagehand wages without proper payroll deductions, benefit contributions and record-keeping.
-- Paul Pringle
Photo: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Los Angeles Times