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Former L.A. Coliseum general manager pleads guilty to one count

March 28, 2012 | 11:57 am

Patrick Lynch
In a surprise move, the former general manager of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single criminal count of conflict of interest to avoid a possible lengthy prison sentence on multiple corruption charges.

Patrick T. Lynch will repay $385,000 that he allegedly received from a Coliseum contractor as part of a kickback scheme. He also will be placed on three years' probation.

Lynch is one of six men indicted last week in a 29-count indictment alleging bribery, embezzlement, conspiracy and conflict of interest. In exchange for his plea, Los Angeles County prosecutors dropped other charges of embezzlement.

He faced up to 13 years in prison. As part of the plea deal, Lynch agreed to not make false statements about the case, which also involves former Coliseum events manager Todd DeStefano and prominent rave promoters Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami.

Also indicted are former Coliseum technology manager Leopold Caudillo Jr. and the contractor accused of making payments to Lynch, Tony Estrada. DeStefano, Rotella and Gerami have pleaded not guilty. Caudillo is expected to surrender to authorities as early as Wednesday.

Estrada was believed to be in Panama and prosecutors have said they do not know whether he will return voluntarily. The case grew out of a series of Times reports on financial irregularities at the historic Coliseum and companion Sports Arena.

DeStefano is charged with receiving nearly $2 million in illegal payments from Rotella and Gerami in exchange for helping them stage rave concerts at the Coliseum properties. The promoters are accused of bribery, among other counts.

Caudillo is charged with directing stadium business to a company he co-founded.

After the hearing in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, Deputy Dist. Atty. Max Huntsman said prosecutors agreed to the deal because Lynch promised to pay the money-strapped Coliseum back within 45 days. Lynch also will serve 1,500 hours of community service.


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Photo: Patrick Lynch. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times