Now that USC has vacated its 2004 national championship because Reggie Bush couldn't steer clear of the side money, attention has shifted to the venue where the Trojans have had such success in recent years. As it turns out, the L.A. Coliseum has been run more or less like a garbage removal service in Westchester. The Los Angeles Times did some poking around and found that Todd DeStefano, the long-time events manager at the coliseum, was pretty much raking anyone that wanted to do business there, from Coca-Cola to "American Gladiators" to rave promoters. More:
The payments from DeStefano's deals went to two companies he has, LAC Events and Private Event Management. The receipts are listed in four years of financial disclosures that he filed only recently. He submitted the declarations to the commission after The Times reported that he had failed to file them annually as required by state law.
An attorney for DeStefano, James Blatt, said his client "never acted surreptitiously. This was not secretive." Blatt said DeStefano's extra income was justified because he generated business to make the commission profitable. Last year, however, the agency's financial statement showed that it sank into the red.
DeStefano's government earnings were as much as $189,278 a year. Each of his private companies paid him more than $100,000 last year, according to his disclosures. His wife is listed as an officer in the companies and received salaries from both. ...
DeStefano quit the commission in January after the panel's current president, David Israel, required him to choose between his Coliseum job and his burgeoning career as a rave consultant.
By that time, his dual roles had become so intertwined that he hired his own lobbyist to push for the resumption of raves at the Coliseum, even as he advised the commission on the wisdom of such a move.
Israel said he had not known about DeStefano's side deals.
"It ain't gonna happen again," he said.
Insomniac's Electric Daisy Carnival rave was staged four times at the Coliseum, drawing about 185,000 people over two days in 2010. Last summer's edition was marred by scores of drug-related arrests and ambulance calls. A 15-year-old girl died of an Ecstasy over-dose.
Pete Carroll has not denied any knowledge of DeStefano's activities.
L.A. Coliseum official profited from numerous side deals [LA Times]