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Ex-L.A. Coliseum tech manager surrenders in corruption scandal

March 29, 2012 | 12:25 pm

Leopold Caudillo Jr.

A former technology manager for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum surrendered to authorities Thursday and pleaded not guilty to a count of criminal conflict of interest.

Leopold Caudillo Jr., one of six men charged last week in the Coliseum corruption scandal, is accused of directing more than $20,000 in stadium funds to a company he co-founded. Caudillo was on a personal trip in Russia when he and the other defendants were named in a 29-count indictment.

After entering his plea at a downtown courtroom, Caudillo said, “It’s craziness. … I hope everything goes well for everyone.”

PHOTOS: Former Coliseum officials and others arrested

He declined to comment on the charge against him. [Updated, 1:23 p.m.: He could face a three-year sentence if convicted, according to the District Attorney's office.]

On Wednesday, former Coliseum General Manager Patrick Lynch pleaded guilty to a single count of conflict of interest to avoid a trial and possible lengthy prison term on several other charges.

As part of the plea deal, Lynch will serve no jail time and must return to the taxpayer-owned stadium $385,000 in payments he received from a contractor in an alleged kickback scheme.

FULL COVERAGE: Coliseum under scrutiny

Three other defendants have pleaded not guilty to a variety of charges, including bribery, embezzlement and conspiracy. They are former Coliseum Events Manager Todd DeStefano and prominent rave promoters Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami.

The remaining defendant is the contractor accused of making the payments to Lynch, Tony Estrada. Prosecutors believe he is in Panama and say they do not know if he will return voluntarily.

The case grew out of Times stories on financial irregularities at the Coliseum and companion Sports Arena, including payments DeStefano allegedly received from the promoters for helping them stage concerts at the properties while he oversaw them in his government post.

Caudillo lost his job in October, shortly after The Times reported his ties to the company that received about $30,000 in Coliseum business.


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

Photo: Leopold Caudillo during the Commissioners meeting last July. Credit: Mariah Tauger / For The Times.