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Judge refuses to unfreeze assets in Coliseum corruption scandal

April 3, 2012 |  7:08 am

L.A. Memorial Coliseum
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has declined to lower the bail and unfreeze the assets of several men indicted in the Coliseum corruption scandal.

Judge Patricia Schnegg said she needed time to review court records before making a decision. She scheduled a new court date for Monday morning.

The defendants asked for a reduction in bail, and three of the four men who appeared in court Monday asked that their assets be unfrozen. The three men are former Coliseum events manager Todd DeStefano, accused of receiving bribes, conspiracy, and embezzlement; and prominent rave producers Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami, indicted on charges of bribery, embezzlement and conspiracy, according to court records. All three were released on $1.2 million bail.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A. Coliseum under scrutiny

A fourth man, ex-Coliseum technology manager Leopold Caudillo Jr., accused of directing more than $20,000 in government business to a company he controlled, according to court records, surrendered to authorities last week after returning from Russia, and was released on $20,000 bail.

A court filing posted last month said prosecutors sought to freeze about $536,000 in DeStefano’s assets, $1.8 million in Rotella’s and $373,000 in Gerami’s.

A fifth man, Tony Estrada, a former janitorial contractor accused of conspiring to embezzle Coliseum funds, is believed to be in Latin America and told The Times on Monday that he does not plan to return to Los Angeles to surrender.

The sixth defendant, Patrick Lynch, pleaded guilty to a single count of conflict of interest and as part of the plea deal will return the $385,000 in kickbacks he is accused of receiving from Estrada to the Coliseum Commission, according to court records.

Lynch, the former longtime general manager of the Coliseum, allegedly received the funds in return for arranging for a raise in Estrada's janitorial contract, court records said.

The indictment was unsealed March 23 and capped 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.

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-- Rong-Gong Lin II at Los Angeles County Superior Court

Photo: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

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