Following revelations that the L.A. District Attorney's office is investigating an L.A. Coliseum official for working on the side for a rave promoter who's been lobbying the public venue to continue his controversial events there, Coliseum Commission member Rick Caruso says a ban on raves is back on the table.
In an interview with the Weekly at his office at the Grove shopping center, Caruso said the apparent conflict of interest of having a manager working for the public and for the promoter should make his fellow commissioners do a double take on raves, which he likens to dangerous drug parties.
Caruso also said the contract for next June's Electric Daisy Carnival had yet to be approved and would be voted on by the commission.
On Tuesday night the Los Angeles Times reported that Todd DeStefano, a top events manager for the publicly owned Coliseum and Sports Arena, was also getting paid by Pasquale Rotella's Insomniac Events during the last year, both when Insomniac had put on the trouble-plagued Electric Daisy Carnival, and when it had come before the Commission, essentially DeStefano's boss, to ask for approval for 2011.
At last week's meeting, after a closed session of the commission, Caruso says he asked for and got a successful vote to have EDC's contract come before the body for specific approval.
“The contract is coming back …it happened after a closed session,” he said. “That contract has not been approved.”
He thinks the turn of events this week will persuade fellow commissioners to reconsider banning raves at the public venues they control. The parties happen four times a year at the Coliseum and Sports arena and reportedly make up nearly 30 percent of the venues' annual income.
Caruso says the money's not worth it. At EDC there were 60 mostly drug-related arrests and more than 200 medical emergencies. A 15-year-old who attended later died of an ecstasy overdose.
The commission responded by putting strict guidelines on raves, including an 18-and-up policy, tighter security and “harm reduction” drug education.
DeStefano had been in charge of security at the parties before reportedly resigning last month.
At New Year's Eve's Together At One, co-promoted by Rotella, ID checks were abandoned as too many people crowded to get into the Sports Arena, police told the Weekly.
“I'm certainly going to push for the fact that we should not approve” Electric Daisy Carnival, Caruso said. “The event shouldn't happen.”
“How can it happen? How can you trust the integrity of that agreement when you know somebody has been on both sides of it?”