Crime & Justice

Audit finds financial problems, 'dysfunctional culture' at LA Memorial Coliseum

This Feb. 13,2008 file photo shows the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.
This Feb. 13,2008 file photo shows the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

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Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel said Thursday she’s uncovered more fraud at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

“What’s clear is that the management controls over the Coliseum were weak or non-existent, resulting in millions of dollars in wasteful spending, fraudulent activity and misuse of funds," Greuel said in a 70-page audit released Thursday.

The controller said her audit found, among other problems, that Coliseum officials made $870,000 in advance payments to companies in South America for soccer events that never happened.

In addition, there were 42 instances of cash payments totaling $950,000 that were "untracked" on the Coliseum's books.

"The lax oversight and poor state of the Coliseum's finances are appalling," Greuel declared.

But it didn't take long before the president of the Coliseum Commission fired back at Greuel.

"Had the City Controller’s office been as engaged the last four decades as it has been the last year, it is entirely possible that the illegal activity the Commission uncovered would never have occurred," Coliseum Commission President David Israel and Vice President Don Knabe said in a letter.

"There is plenty of blame to go around. The failure to provide proper oversight is a shared failure."

The audit follows the filing of criminal charges against six former coliseum officials and rave party promoters.

The Coliseum Commission is considering transferring management of the iconic venue to USC.