LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Officials with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum have abandoned their request for free tickets to football games after several of them were indicted in a financial scandal that has left the stadium in turmoil.
Members of the Coliseum Commission include former General Manager Patrick Lynch and former Events Manager Todd DeStefano, who were named with four other officials in a 29-count indictment on embezzlement, bribery and conspiracy charges.
Each member was eligible to receive 10 free tickets to every University of Southern California football game and even some NFL games as part of a deal to turn over the stadium’s management to university officials.
But David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that officials could not have picked a worse time to ask for freebies.
“Based on the culture of corruption that we’ve seen from Coliseum management over the years from those that have been running it, that atmosphere just doesn’t make this kind of ticket request feel right,” said Carter.
Several members of the Commission — which also includes L.A. County Supervisors — have asked a judge to unfreeze their assets amid an ongoing investigation into alleged misuse of taxpayer funds.
Carter said the public should not be quick to judge the entire Commission based on the actions of a few members.
“I think it’s important to note that not all of those attached to the Colisuem Commission or the commissioners themselves were supportive of this kind of a relationship,” he said. “I think some of them had gone on the record and articulated the fact that they were dismayed by this ongoing issue.”
A proposed Coliseum lease would give USC control of the stadium so the university can make upgrades that the county cannot afford to make.