The L.A. Coliseum manager who was doing double duty working for the embattled promoter of controversial raves there had also hired a lobbying firm to fight for organizer's right to throw these parties.
L.A. City Ethics Commission website shows that Todd DeStefano's side business, Private Event Management, hired City Hall lobbying firm Urban Strategy Group in late September, not long before public Coliseum Commission was set to consider a permanent ban on raves at the public venues it controls, the Coliseum and the Sports Arena.
The Los Angeles Times revealed the new connection Sunday night.
The paper reports that DeStefano paid $6,250 to Urban Strategy Group for his lobbying services late last year. The Times:
“DeStefano and Vizcaino met in July with aides to city Councilmen Jose Huizar and Bernard Parks, as well as officials from the Los Angeles Fire and Police departments, to address the outcry over 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez's death from an Ecstasy overdose, participants in the session said. Vizcaino and a second member of the three-lobbyist Urban Strategy Group are former staff members for Huizar, whose office hosted the gathering.”
Parks has arguably been city leadership's biggest advocate for raves. He also sits on the Coliseum Commission and has argued vociferously for the four-times-a-year parties, stating they generate millions in revenues and thousands of jobs in his South L.A. district.
A spokesman for Huizar said he does not back raves.
Huizar actually introduced a motion in council to look at limiting raves within the city only weeks before the meeting with the lobbyists and DeStefano.
In November the commission decided to lift its moratorium on raves. It was a somewhat hollow ban anyway since it would have only to applied to parties that had not already been planned and contracted.
DeStefano's dual role as a worker at the taxpayer-run coliseum and for the promoter, Insomniac Events, that was supposed to have been on thin ice following Rodriguez's death, is being looked at by the District Attorney's office and the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
The revelation that he played both sides of the fence, even as Insomniac was mounting a campaign to get the commission to continue to allow its megaraves at the Coliseum and Sports Arena, means a ban on raves at the venues is back on the table — at least according to what Commission Rick Caruso told the Weekly.