Commissioner: Coliseum Chief Admitted To Conflict Of Interest
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission will hold a special closed-door meeting Tuesday on the fate of Coliseum General Manager Patrick Lynch.
The commission issued an agenda for the meeting Monday afternoon, describing it as a “performance evaluation/possible action regarding employment” of its general manager/chief administrative officer.
Commissioner Rick Caruso called for Lynch’s resignation Wednesday, the day the Los Angeles Times reported that the Coliseum’s assistant general manager for events — Todd DeStefano — was also working for Insomniac Inc.
Caruso tells KNX 1070 that allowing Lynch to continue in his post would be “the worst form of government” for the L.A. Coliseum.
Insomniac Inc. organized the Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic music festival held at the Coliseum last summer where a 15-year girl died from an overdose of Ecstasy.
“We have now learned that the fox was left guarding the henhouse since our staff in charge of planning security at raves was also secretly working for the rave organizer,” Caruso said last week.
Lynch has not spoken with reporters since The Times initial report on DeStefano. Caruso was not made available for an interview Monday.
DeStefano began working with Insomniac about two months before the June 2010 event, and Lynch approved the arrangement, The Times reported.
Lynch said he reduced DeStefano’s salary and changed his title after he started with Insomniac, but DeStefano continued to work for the commission on the Electric Daisy preparations.
Lynch said DeStefano might have taken part in closed-door meetings of the commission in which its dealings with Insomniac were privately discussed, The Times reported.
Lynch told The Times he recently informed commission President David Israel of the situation and was told that DeStefano’s ties to Insomniac were improper and that he should choose between the company and the agency.
Israel confirmed Lynch’s account.
DeStefano resigned from the Coliseum position in January to pursue a full-time career as an events promoter — including for Insomniac, which is seeking commission approval for another Electric Daisy Carnival.
State law generally forbids managers such as DeStefano to participate in decisions affecting a company in which they or their immediate family members have a financial stake. Violations can result in civil or criminal penalties.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has begun investigating the matter, The Times reported. An official with the California Fair Political Practices Commission told The Times the agency is also investigating.
According to The Times, DeStefano acknowledged his double employment, saying that he received payment through one of three companies that he has operated from his home since 2006. He declined to reveal the amount Insomniac paid him.
DeStefano said his companies have not been engaged in any other business involving the Coliseum or the neighboring Los Angeles Sports Arena, which is also run by the commission.
He said he did nothing wrong.
Raves have become a major revenue source for the Coliseum complex, which also includes the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. The Electric Daisy Carnival was the biggest, drawing 185,000 people over the two days.
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