Coliseum General Manager Resigns Following Employee Conflict of Interest Allegations - NBC Southern California

Coliseum General Manager Resigns Following Employee Conflict of Interest Allegations



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    Patrick Lynch

    The general manager of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum resigned Tuesday, just hours before the stadium's governing body was set to meet in closed session to consider his fate.

    Patrick Lynch, who was been managing the stadium and adjacent Sports Arena since 1994, tendered his resignation in an e-mail to the nine members of the Coliseum Commission.

    "This last year has been very trying and it has taken its toll on me, both physically and mentally," Lynch wrote. "I would like to thank the president and other commissioners for their support over this difficult period. I would also like to thank the commissioners who have worked so hard in the past to achieve what I believe to be many successes. Many projects are in front of you and I wish nothing but the best for all your efforts."

    The commission was scheduled to meet late Tuesday afternoon to discuss Lynch's employment. Commissioner Rick Caruso called for Lynch's resignation Wednesday, the day the Los Angeles Times reported that the Coliseum's assistant general manager for events -- Todd DeStefano -- was also working for Insomniac Inc.

    Insomniac Inc. organized the Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic music festival held at the Coliseum last summer. The event was attended by a 15- year-old girl who died from an overdose of Ecstasy.

    "We have now learned that the fox was left guarding the henhouse since our staff in charge of planning security at raves was also secretly working for the rave organizer," Caruso said last week.

    DeStefano began working with Insomniac about two months before the June 2010 event, and Lynch approved the arrangement, The Times reported.

    Lynch said he reduced DeStefano's salary and changed his title after he started with Insomniac, but DeStefano continued to work for the commission on the Electric Daisy preparations.

    Lynch said DeStefano might have taken part in closed-door meetings of the commission in which its dealings with Insomniac were privately discussed, The Times reported.

    Lynch told The Times he recently informed commission President David Israel of the situation and was told that DeStefano's ties to Insomniac were improper and that he should choose between the company and the agency. Israel confirmed Lynch's account.

    DeStefano resigned from the Coliseum position in January to pursue a full-time career as an events promoter -- including for Insomniac, which is seeking commission approval for another Electric Daisy Carnival.

    In his resignation note, Lynch apologized for the situation involving DeStefano.

    "I have fully cooperated with all the inquiries into the matters before us," he wrote. "I will also be available to consult with whomever you wish in order to ensure progress on the projects under way. I care deeply about the Coliseum and would offer to do anything to help in its future success.

    "As I said in my last e-mail, I sincerely apologize for all the negativity this situation has caused you and the Coliseum. After 17 years, it is with extreme sadness that I write this but I do take with me great pride in all of our accomplishments. I wish you all best of success in the future."

    State law generally forbids managers such as DeStefano to participate in decisions affecting a company in which they or their immediate family members have a financial stake. Violations can result in civil or criminal penalties.

    The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the Californai Fair Political Practices Commission have both begun investigating the matter.

    According to The Times, DeStefano acknowledged his double employment, saying that he received payment through one of three companies that he has operated from his home since 2006. He declined to reveal the amount Insomniac paid him. DeStefano said his companies have not been engaged in any other business involving the Coliseum or the neighboring Los Angeles Sports Arena, which is also run by the commission. He said he did nothing wrong.

    Raves have become a major revenue source for the Coliseum complex. The Electric Daisy Carnival was the biggest, drawing 185,000 people over the two days.