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Italiano Accuses Dodgers of Ignoring Safety Issues

September 03, 1993|MARYANN HUDSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former Dodger security chief Jim Italiano, speaking publicly for the first time since his departure from the club, said Thursday through his attorney that he was fired by the Dodgers for reasons he believes include his knowledge of alleged safety violations that the club has ignored.

Italiano, who the Dodgers said resigned Aug. 16, left the team shortly after an incident in the parking lot July 18 where Dodger security guards allegedly beat a man because they thought he was a scalper. The Dodgers have denied the charges brought by Deion Stephens, 23, and have said Italiano's departure is not linked to the incident.

John Cohn, Italiano's attorney, said that his client was at the scene of the incident and that he "was involved with no wrongdoing." Cohn said the Dodgers fired "the wrong guy."

"Jim was fired as a result of two things," Cohn said, "the incident that took place in the parking lot . . . and very serious issues regarding safety of the fans at Dodger Stadium that Jim had concerns about, but most of it has fallen on deaf ears. Stephens and the (Vince) Coleman incident were the tip of the iceberg.

" . . . Jim is prepared to come forward with specific allegations, but not at this time."

Bob Graziano, Dodger vice president of finance, who oversees stadium operations, had no comment.

Italiano was director of stadium operations the last two years. On Sunday, Aug. 8, Italiano cleaned out his office before beginning a previously scheduled vacation and resigned effective Aug. 16. Since then, Stephens, claiming he has suffered injuries, is pursuing legal action.

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