Business & Economy

New allegations of exorbitant spending surface in LA Coliseum audit

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

New allegations surfaced Monday detailing exorbitant spending by Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum managers.

The governing commission of the money-losing stadium is already under criminal investigation for suspect business deals and raises. The commission is a joint authority of the state, the city and the county.

City Controller Wendy Greuel was ready to launch an audit earlier this year, but criminal probe investigators feared it would hinder their investigation.

The two agencies have since found a way to cooperate. Gruel's auditors will examine the Coliseum's overall finances and the district attorney's investigators will focus on possible criminal actions by former or current Coliseum managers.

Records show two private firms set up by a former Coliseum events manager collected at least $1.8 million from rave concert promoters and other companies that did business at the stadium and companion Sports Arena, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A second manager directed Coliseum business to a firm he founded, according to stadium invoices and interviews. At the same time, the money-losing Coliseum spent thousands of dollars on luxury cars and other perks for managers.

"Where are the checks and balances?" Greuel asked earlier. "How does this happen, and how could it be avoided in the future?"

Although his job only requires occasional car trips in the downtown Los Angeles area, Coliseum finance director Ronald Lederkramer charged taxpayers about $7,600 for gasoline since 2008, including fill-ups of his Infiniti and Jaguar near Las Vegas and in Florida and New York, the Times reported.

Four other stadium administrators racked up similar bills on the Coliseum's Exxon Mobil account, according to receipts obtained through the California Public Records Act.

Gruel said those costs "must be for a public benefit, not a private benefit."

Records also show top employees spent big bucks on hotel rooms and country club golf tournaments.

From 2009 until June, the commission reimbursed Lederkramer $16,546 for travel, meal and convention expenses, according to the documents. Last February, he billed the commission $1,267 to stay at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa for a Stadium Managers Association conference.

The Coliseum also spent thousands on Lederkramer's personal medical costs, including $2,139 for chiropractor visits, $910 for drugs and $500 for a procedure to treat snoring.