Investigation to look at payments to ex-official
Posted October 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm in News
The Los Angeles District Attorneyâs office and the California Fair Political Practices Commission, a state government agency responsible for overseeing campaigns, lobbying and conflict of interest in law, have launched investigations into possible conflicts of interest at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after former Coliseum General Manager Patrick Lynch received payments from a contractor.
Lynch received an estimated $300,000 from a stadium contractor.
Documents and interviews confirmed that former contractor Tony Estrada deposited the money for Lynch in a Miami bank account beginning in 2006.
These new findings, part of an eight-month financial scandal surrounding the taxpayer-owned Coliseum, were investigated by the Coliseum Commission, which is composed of political appointees from the city, county and state. The results were released to the Los Angeles District Attorneyâs office, which disseminated the information to the public on Saturday.
âThe allegations became known to the commission,â Coliseum Commission President David Israel told the Los Angeles Times. âThe commission investigated them and turned over the results to the district attorney. If the allegations are true, then the Coliseum is the victim of a crime.â
Bernard Parks, a Los Angeles City Councilman representing the cityâs Eighth District, which includes USC and the Coliseum, and a member of the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, said he foresees no immediate effects on the negotiations.
âThe Coliseum has been negotiating on a lease with USC for about a month now,â Bernard said. âI donât believe the revelations will have any impact on those negotiations.â
Estrada claims the funds were allocated to create a new corporation to take over his janitorial company and Tony Capozzola, Lynchâs attorney, maintains the finances were unrelated to stadium affairs. The money was intended as payment for Lynchâs boat as well as for the purchase of another boat, according to Capozzola.
Speculation of the payments was brought to light to Coliseum officials after a falling out between Lynch and Estrada. It is unknown, however, how much money, if any, still remains in Lynchâs Miami bank account, as a second boat was never purchased. Lynch unexpectedly resigned as general manager of the Coliseum in Feb. 2011, after it was revealed that a Coliseum employee under Lynchâs tenure also worked for an event promotion company that regularly held events at the Coliseum.
Legal and financial details concerning the universityâs acquisition of the master lease will be discussed at the commissionâs next meeting on Dec. 7. USCâs current lease stipulates the university will give the commission 8 percent of ticket sales and $1.8 million annually in exchange for renovations of the Coliseum.