The FBI is looking into allegations that millions of dollars in under-the-table cash payments were made by rave promoters and other exhibitors to union hands working events at the troubled L.A. Coliseum and its sister venue, the Sports Arena.

FBI agents in recent weeks have contacted rave organizers as part of its investigation, the Weekly learned today.

This comes as the Los Angeles Times reported that …

… U.S. Department of Labor was investigating the alleged cash payoffs.

The Weekly broke the story that as much as $2.5 million in cash — sans taxes and benefits — had been paid to International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) stagehands at the L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena in recent years. We filed California Public Information Act requests regarding the matter last year.

The under-the-table remittance reports inspired the publicly run Coliseum to pile on new accusations to a civil lawsuit against its former top managers and the rave promoters, who allegedly engaged in a conspiracy of side payments and benefits that enriched them at the taxpayers' expense.

One source, however, alleged to us that the alleged cash payments to union hands, which the Times says was done via $100 bills in suitcases, was a shakedown of exhibitors by a union boss.

Others, however, have painted the union as a victim, noting that benefits and tax liabilities have been lost if these allegations are true. City Controller Wendy Greuel told us previously that “IATSE clearly followed the rules on so many levels.”

Deanne Amaden, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Labor, told the Weekly that …

… this is one of these situations where we can neither confirm nor deny we're doing an investigation.

The Times says the payments were for stagehands who worked …

… rave concerts, Cinco de Mayo performances, a mixed martial arts production and a Lakers NBA championship celebration, among other Coliseum bookings.

[@dennisjromero / / @LAWeeklyNews]

LA Weekly