Southern California breaking news and trends

Rave company exec and two former venue managers arrested in L.A. Coliseum scandal

monopoly man money mural venice beach coliseum investigation

Photo by ToGa Wanderings via Flickr Creative Commons

A rave company's chief executive and two former Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum execs were arrested Thursday in connection with a number of investigations into questionable financial dealings.

The D.A.'s office says charges were not immediately disclosed, notes the L.A. Times. However, a spokesperson from D.A. Steve Cooley's office released the names of the individuals arrested:

  • Patrick Lynch, the former longtime general manager of the Coliseum and the companion Sports Arena, was arrested at his home in Torrance.
  • Todd DeStefano, the former events manager at the Coliseum, was arrested at his friend's home in Venice.
  • Reza Gerami, the chief executive of the rave promotion company Go Ventures, was arrested at his home in Malibu.

Last year, the three were sued for more than $1 million by the Coliseum Commission -- a joint-powers authority that oversees the taxpayer-owned complex -- alleging they siphoned off revenues.


Critiques of LAFD's new info release policy continue and questions remain

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Frank Stoltze/KPCC

The Los Angeles Fire Department has been under fire recently due to discrepancies in its reporting times and failures of its communications equipment. Now it's taking heat for a new information release policy.

Confusion surrounding the LAFD's new information policy is continuing, as is the criticism.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday ordered the city's fire department to halt a new policy withholding key information on emergencies until it gets a written opinion from the city attorney's office. Earlier this week, the LAFD suddenly stopped providing real-time updates about emergencies it responds to, citing federal health privacy law.

In the meantime, city council members and media organizations bashed the new policy, and it remained unclear how it was being implemented.

Initially, fire officials refused to confirm even basic details about incidents earlier this week. Then it began using its Twitter feed to report incidents by block number with some basic information. Before the policy was disclosed, the Twitter feed had revealed specific addresses of incidents, and the sex and ages of victims. No messages have been sent from the account since about 6 p.m. Wednesday.


Invisible Children 'Kony 2012' activist Jason Russell diagnosed with brief reactive psychosis

Jason Russell of Invisible Children

Photo by sean dreilinger via Flickr Creative Commons

Jason Russell of Invisible Children speaks at TEDxSanDiego in December 2011

Jason Russell, the Kony 2012 filmmaker and co-founder of Invisible Children found undressed and behaving wildly in San Diego last week, has been initially diagnosed with brief reactive psychosis, according to his wife.

He was hospitalized following the acute episode which occurred after his video about African warlord Joseph Kony went from relative obscurity to worldwide exposure in a matter of hours. 

Triggered by extreme stress, exhaustion, and dehydration, symptoms of the broad diagnosis can manifest as hallucinations, unusual speech and other unusual behavior consistent with witness accounts.

The condition causes "temporary debilitation, but in general people have good recoveries," said Dr. Stephen Marder, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. Doctors say brief reactive psychosis can also signal a more serious mental illness in some cases.


Death of Malibu kitchen worker labeled 'upper respiratory infection'

malibu sign

Photo by Robert Garcia via Flickr Creative Commons

Investigators say the mysterious death of a Malibu kitchen worker outside of Guido's restaurant was not crime-related. Carlos Ivan Rodas died of an upper respiratory infection, according to homicide detectives.

Authorities say 32-year-old Rodas left the restaurant to take out the trash on Sunday night and staggered to the parking lot in front of the business where he collapsed and died.

The announcement raises questions, however, as multiple reports noted the presense of an overwhelming amount of blood at the scene. 

Coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter told the L.A. Times he could not discuss the case because it was placed on a security hold Wednesday morning. The reason for the hold was unclear. 

Conflicting information initially circulated about the cause of the dishwasher's death. 

Early indications suggested to authorities he may have been a shooting victim. Some time after, it was reported he had been beaten to death by multiple assailants. Later, there was cause to consider it a death by natural causes.


Carlos Ivan Rodas ID'd in bloody Malibu mystery death

malibu sign

Photo by Robert Garcia via Flickr Creative Commons

Carlos Ivan Rodas of Los Angeles has been identified as the 32-year-old dishwasher who died mysteriously on Sunday in front of Guido's restaurant in Malibu, where he worked.

Coroner’s officials say an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, and results will likely end speculation about the cause of death. Reports are not expected before Thursday, say officials. 

Conflicting information circulated about the circumstances leading up to the victim being found in a pool of blood in the shopping center at Cross Creek Road and Pacific Coast Highway. 

Early Sheriff's Department indications suggested the man has been shot. Some time after, it was reported he had been beaten brutally by multiple assailants. Later, there was cause to believe he may have died of natural causes.

LASD spokesman Steve Whitmore told KPCC it was not unusual for details to change significantly during the initial stages of an investigation. All possibilities are being considered, he said.