L.A. County wants to take over the finances of the troubled L.A. Coliseum Commission, which has been rocked by scandal stemming from 2010's Electric Daisy Carnival rave and leading to allegations that a venue official also worked for the party promoter.
A unanimous vote by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors today approved a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe that would place the county's Auditor-Controller in the position of the Coliseum Commission's interim finance director, but only if the Commission approves that.
Ridley-Thomas, Knabe, and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky sit on the 9-member board and have some sway there.
The motion also calls for the county Auditor-Controller to audit the Commission's finances, even though the L.A. City Controller is also doing the same. The county would bill the Commission for the cost of the audit.
Activist Miki Jackson said the county doesn't need to take on anymore work right now.
“They clearly have more on their plate than they know what to do with,” she told the Weekly today. “The last time I looked they were not experts at even managing themselves much less the Coliseum.”
[Added]: Ridley-Thomas had this to say in a statement released this afternoon:
The Auditor-Controller … is both appropriate and well-equipped to help the Coliseum Commission get on the right track … I believe the Coliseum Commissioners will decide the more sets of eyes looking for solutions, the better.
The Commission has been in hot water since early this year when the Los Angeles Times revealed that Todd DeStefano, a top Coliseum manager, was also working for rave promoter Insomniac Events and had allegedly taken as much as $1.8 million in fees from clients who booked events at the publicly run Coliseum and adjacent Sports Arena.
Then the Times reported that top Coliseum officials drove luxury cars and filled up on gas on the Coliseum's dime.
A shakeup has been underway at the Coliseum, with General Manager Patrick Lynch resigning. Recently board member Rick Caruso, the biggest critic of raves at the venues, resigned and called for a complete overhaul of the Commission, which is a joint power under the city, county and state.
The rave, EDC, ended in 2010 with the subsequent death of a 15-year-old girl who had taken ecstasy. Organizers had a 16-and-older door policy. There were more than 200 medical emergencies and 60 mostly drug-related arrests at the event. Chaotic gatecrashing was also an issue.
As a result of the controversy, organizers pulled out of the Coliseum for 2011 but have said they want to return.