Two former executives arrested after alleged corruption

Two former executives of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the chief executive of a rave promotion company were arrested Thursday. Though the charges were not immediately disclosed, attorneys said they believed the criminal counts are for conspiracy regarding the stadium’s operation, according to the Associated Press.

Financial ruin · The university is in talks with the nearly bankrupt Coliseum Commission to negotiate a 50-year master lease. - Carlo Acenas | Daily Trojan

Authorities arrested Patrick Lynch, former Coliseum general manager; Todd DeStefano, former Coliseum events manager; and Reza Gerami, chief executive of Go Ventures, Thursday morning.

The Chief of Staff for City Councilman Bernard C. Parks said the councilman, a member of the Coliseum commission, was not surprised by the arrests.

“It’s unfortunate,” Chief of Staff Bernard C. Parks Jr. said. “But it’s pretty predictable, having followed this now for a year and knowing the different law enforcement agencies that were involved. He knew this day was coming.”

The venue’s financial activity has been the subject of scandal for more than a year. In November, the Coliseum Commission sued Lynch and DeStefano, alleging that they had mishandled funds and siphoned money for personal gain. The suit also named rave promoters Go Ventures and Insomniac Events.

Parks Jr. said there is no connection between the charges filed and USC’s negotiations with the Coliseum Commission for a master lease.

“I know there have been some people trying to draw a parallel line between these two events, but it’s really apples and oranges,” Parks Jr. said. “I don’t think you can hand over a public facility for free based on the negligence of a couple employees at the Coliseum. One thing has absolutely nothing to do with the other.”

In addition to Thursday’s arrests, a lawyer for Insomniac Events, which has worked with the Coliseum, said the company expects its chief executive to be arrested as well, but is confident that the charges levied against him are invalid, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, whose office is currently investigating and auditing the operation’s finances, said the arrests signify the need for reform.

“We must demand zero tolerance when it comes to allegations of public corruption, wasteful spending, fraudulent activity and abuse of city resources,” Greuel said in a statement. “[Thursday’s] arrests are indicative of the need for bold changes at the Coliseum.”

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