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L.A. Coliseum panel lost $870,000 on Uruguay soccer bid

Outside the Coliseum
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission squandered $870,000 in wired deposits sent to South America for soccer matches that were never held, an audit released by City Controller Wendy Greuel found.

The payments were made between 2003 and 2009 to companies in Uruguay, the audit said.

In 2003, the Coliseum decided to act as a promoter for a Uruguayan all-star match at the taxpayer-owned stadium and arranged for transportation and lodging for the athletes. The commission wired two payments, totaling $200,000 to its prospective partners in South America. The match never happened.

L.A. Now Live: Chat with Times reporters about Coliseum scandal

Six years later, the Coliseum launched a new effort with a different Uruguayan company for a "South American All Stars Team" event on July 4, the audit said. Two more electronic wire transfers were delivered, one for $600,000 and the other for $70,000.

The Coliseum "has not received this deposit money back, either in part or in total," the audit said.

Additionally, former Coliseum General Manager Patrick Lynch reserved a bank of hotel rooms here for the athletes, which cost the public $17,000 after the event was canceled.

The audit also noted that Lynch told Coliseum commissioners in 2008 that following a trip to Venezuela, he "successfully signed up a World Class All-Star Game," but that event also did not occur.

The conclusions of the audit, released Thursday, were that the officials in charge of the historic Coliseum failed to impose even basic financial controls, allowing the routine waste of public money and permitting corruption to take root in "a dysfunctional and risk-prone culture."

RELATED:

L.A. Coliseum had scant controls over spending, audit finds

DOCUMENT: Audit calls L.A. Coliseum 'dysfunctional'

GRAPHIC: Who's on the Coliseum Commission?

-- Paul Pringle, Rong-Gong Lin II and Andrew Blankstein

Photo: The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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