The bribery and corruption indictments against two rave promoters allege they made illegal, under-the-table payments to an official at the publicly run L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena. Serious business, that.
But as it moves ahead this summer, the court battle between the district attorney's office and the defendants seems to have the concert organizers a little closer to the goal line:
Promoter Pasquale Rotella's motion to dismiss is getting a full airing in September, the judge in the case determined in a hearing this week. (Defendants also include Reza Gerami of Go Ventures and former Coliseum events manager Todd DeStefano.)
Attorneys for Rotella, chief of Insomniac Events, say in their motion to dismiss that the DA's case represents an “unprecedented misapplication of embezzlement law.”
The filing points out that while prosecutors allege the side payments were for the use of the Coliseum, Rotella already had use of the Coliseum via $25,000-a-show agreements with the venue.
The money paid to events manager DeStefano was for “honest services outside the scope of his duties,” the document states.
Prosecutors have filed a response to the motion, and the promoters have until Aug. 30 to file their rebuttal to that response, we were told.
The DA's office maintains that the promoters allegedly paid the events manager 10 percent of ticket sales from raves for use of the venues in question.
The promoters also paid so that they could continue holding the parties in the face of controversy — the overdose death of a 15-year-old girl following Insomniac's Electric Daisy Carnival in 2010 — prosecutors argued in their official response to the dismissal request:
DeStefano used his official position on behalf of Rotella and Gerami to try to see that the Coliseum Commission continued to allow the concerts.
Emails between the promoters and DeStefano prove they knew this was a scheme to keep the music festivals afloat without having to go through bureaucratic hoops, prosecutors contend.
Oral arguments happen Sept. 18, the DA's office says.
Interestingly, RadarOnline reported last night that Rotella's fiancé, Playboy celebrity Holly Madison, is not being realistic about the possible jail time he faces, a 13-year figure that's been overblown in the tabloids:
That would be the maximum if he was convicted on all counts.
The next court date in the case happens more than a month after the reported Aug. 14 wedding date, and it's a dismissal hearing. Still, a so-called insider tells Radar Madison is “in denial” regarding Rotella's fate.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, will be working this summer to defend their position. This after the L.A. Coliseum's civil lawsuit against promoters, which alleges similar wrongdoing, was gutted by a judge earlier this month:
The Coliseum will be allowed to regroup and refile its civil claims, however, if it wants to.
The indictments and the teen's death at EDC shut raves out of the Coliseum and Sports Arena in 2011. But momentum for now seems to be with the promoters.
Rotella's EDC has gone on to great success in Las Vegas.