L.A. Coliseum panel lost $870,000 on Uruguay soccer bid
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.
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.
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."
-- Paul Pringle, Rong-Gong Lin II and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times