Former LA Memorial Coliseum Commission manager collected tens of thousands from side deals

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 2008.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 2008.
anarchosyn/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

A former top manager of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission collected tens of thousands of dollars in private payments from liquor and soft drink companies, television and movie firms, rave promoters and other interests that did business with the agency, it was reported today.

Todd DeStefano, who was the commission's long-time events manager, entered into the lucrative arrangements with several of the enterprises while representing the Coliseum and companion Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and their dealings with the companies, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Among the deals:

– A company that DeStefano founded was paid $10,000 or more by Coca-Cola in 2010, the same year he signed a contract that gave the company the rights to sell its products at Coliseum events. He was not authorized to sign the contract, according to a commission official, and a $70,000 payment Coca-Cola was supposed to make to the commission's concessions arm has not been received.

– DeStefano's business received at least $10,000 from Southern Wine & Spirits, a company he helped to obtain a discount to lease the Coliseum for an employee party.

– His company took in more than $10,000 each from the film production "An American Carol," the television show "American Gladiators," and a Santa Monica firm, Tool of North America, which shoots commercials.

The disclosures, which DeStefano made recently in state-mandated filings, chronicle a steep rise in his side income starting in 2008, according to The Times. The new information could widen the scandal surrounding the nine-member commission, which is appointed by the state, city and county.

DeStefano has denied that he did anything wrong.

After The Times reported his financial relationship with one of the rave promoters, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and state Fair Political Practices Commission announced investigations into his affairs.

About the same time, the commission's general manager, Patrick Lynch, who ran the Coliseum and the Sports Arena for 17 years and approved DeStefano's employment by the rave promoter, resigned under pressure. Lynch's lawyer said his client did not approve many of the other deals, and received no compensation from DeStefano or any companies that did business with the commission.

DeStefano quit the commission in January after the panel's current president, David Israel, required him to choose between his Coliseum job and his career as a rave consultant.