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Coliseum Commission

April 16, 2012
Calling all moms Re "Romney is facing larger problem with female voters," April 13 We need to get real about Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's comment that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life. " Rosen wasn't saying anything derogatory about stay-at-home moms; she was speaking the truth that Ann Romney has never had to worry about paying the bills, putting food on the table, buying clothes and the cost and quality of her kids' day care. Mitt and Ann Romney are in the lucky percentage of Americans who don't know how hard many in the working class have it. They are clueless as to how financially-strapped families are dealing with today's crisis.
April 13, 2012 | By Paul Pringle, Rong-Gong Lin II and Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
 A new city report assails officials in charge of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for failing to impose even basic financial controls, allowing the routine squandering of public money and permitting corruption to take root in "a dysfunctional and risk-prone culture. " On the Coliseum Commission's watch, $870,000 was sent to South America for soccer matches that were never held, according to an audit released Thursday by City Controller Wendy Greuel's office. In addition, a Coliseum contractor received millions in payments even though he had no contract, and a stadium staffer was paid for working 25 hours in a single day. Auditors also found that the commissioners gave their former general manager, Patrick Lynch, an annual bonus of $125,000 for several years without requiring him to undergo a performance review.
April 4, 2012 | By Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
Staggered by a financial scandal that unfolded on their watch, the public officials who run the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum are preparing to turn over control of the taxpayer-owned stadium to USC under a lease that would deliver it into private hands for up to 42 years. The deal would essentially end the Coliseum Commission's stewardship of the 88-year-old landmark - built as a memorial to World War I veterans - whose mismanagement led to a sweeping criminal indictment of key executives last month.
March 29, 2012
Coliseum games Re " Coliseum probe brings three arrests ," March 23, and " Coliseum case widens; six charged ," March 24 What explains the fact that a newspaper usually is the originating source that produces an investigation into financial irregularities or other illegal activity? Why is it not a city, county or state agency - which, theoretically, employ people whose job it is to prevent or uncover precisely this type of wrongdoing? If our government agencies are so incompetent, why do we bother paying for multiple layers of bureaucracy?
March 8, 2012 | By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission on Wednesday spent nearly all of its monthly meeting behind closed doors, continuing a pattern of secrecy that critics say runs afoul of laws requiring government transparency. The commission's agenda suggested that its main business was the panel's ongoing efforts to surrender control of the taxpayer-owned stadium to USC. Part of the commission's 2 1/2 hours in closed session was devoted to the USC deal, according to a source familiar with the discussion.
February 13, 2012 | By Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
Top officials at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum have shown a knack for banking healthy chunks of unused sick leave on the public payroll - in one case, about 35 years' worth. Interim General Manager John Sandbrook, a retired University of California administrator, used the sick leave allotment for most of his university career to boost his annual pension by $655 a month for life, to nearly $183,000, UC figures show. The increase represents 418 days - the quota for all but two of his roughly 37 years within the system, which allows 12 sick days a year.
February 2, 2012 | By Rong-Gong Lin II and Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission came under fire from state officials Wednesday for a lack of transparency, then was forced to cancel its monthly meeting halfway into the session after officials acknowledged the venue had failed to publicly post the agenda as required by law. The cancellation came just hours after members of the California Science Center board, which owns the Coliseum land, chastised the stadium's top executive for...
February 1, 2012 | By Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
For at least five years, officials with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum passed bundles of cash totaling more than $1 million to a union representative, sometimes in a suitcase packed with $100 bills. The payments, ranging from $1,400 to $187,700 each, were to cover the wages of stagehands on Coliseum events -- rave concerts, Cinco de Mayo performances and a Lakers championship celebration -- according to records and interviews. Invoice reports from the publicly owned Coliseum, obtained by The Times under the California Public Records Act, show that the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees received the cash advances from March 2006 through last February.
January 11, 2012 | By Sam Farmer, Paul Pringle and Rong-Gong Lin II
In the name of transparency, USC and the Coliseum Commission released on their websites Wednesday copies of the term sheet for a modified Coliseum lease, one that would give the university operational control of the venue. The 16-page document is nonbinding and the first step toward a lease agreement likely to be negotiated within the next two months. Under the proposed terms, USC would spend more than $50 million to bring the stadium up to campus standards and would make the venue available for community events for a minimum of eight days a year.
January 4, 2012
A stadium sellout Re "Tracing Coliseum's fiscal decay," Dec. 31, 2011 If Californians ever needed further evidence that politicians should never be entrusted with money or assets, the stories about the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission are it. Members of the commission, two-thirds of whom are already on the public payroll, had trouble making just one meeting a month. It follows that they failed to notice business practices that let employees dig freely into the Coliseum cookie jar, while commissioners were feted with nice dinners and free tickets.
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