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Judge throws out civil complaints in Coliseum case

August 30, 2013|By Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II
  • A runner jogs past the entrance to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
A runner jogs past the entrance to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. (Joe Klamarjoe/AFP/Getty…)

A Superior Court judge Friday threw out civil complaints against two concert promoters accused of scheming with a Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum executive to siphon nearly $2 million from the publicly owned stadium.

Judge Terry Green said the Coliseum Commission failed to show that Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami conspired with the stadium’s former event manager, Todd DeStefano, to deprive the stadium of revenue from rave concerts. The ruling also applied to the promoters’ companies.

Friday’s decision does not affect the civil case against DeStefano and former Coliseum general manager Patrick Lynch.

Rotella, Gerami, Lynch and DeStefano still face trial on criminal charges brought last year in a sweeping indictment by the L.A. County Grand Jury. A third former stadium manager and a Coliseum contractor were also indicted.

Lynch has pleaded guilty to criminal conflict of interest for taking $385,000 from the contractor, Tony Estrada. Four defendants have pleaded not guilty, and Estrada is a fugitive.

Charles Slyngstad, an attorney for the commission, said he was “very disappointed” in Green’s ruling. He said he did not know if the panel would appeal.

Gary Jay Kaufman, an attorney for Rotella’s company, Insomniac Inc., said in a statement: “We have maintained from day one that the Coliseum’s meritless lawsuit was ill conceived, politically motivated and publicity driven.”

The Coliseum scandal grew out of a series of Times reports that began in 2011. In the indictment, DeStefano is charged with taking at least $1.9 million from the promoters in exchange for helping them stage raves and keep their costs down.

At the time, DeStefano was overseeing the promoters as part of his government duties. He resigned shortly after The Times began inquiring about his relationship with Insomniac.

In court documents, prosecutors alleged that DeStefano became a “tireless advocate” for keeping raves at the stadium complex even after a 15-year-old girl died after overdosing on Ecstasy at Insomniac's June 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival rave.


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