A former technology manager at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum pleaded no contest Thursday to a felony conflict-of-interest charge stemming from his role in what prosecutors called a $1.8 million bribery and kickback scheme.
Leopold Caudillo Jr. — who directed stadium business to a firm he founded — must perform 100 hours of community service and pay $2,750 in restitution under the plea agreement, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
He is awaiting sentencing in April 2018 in connection with his plea.
Four other defendants — who were indicted along with Caudillo five years ago — have already pleaded no contest or guilty.
Former Coliseum general manager Patrick Lynch was sentenced in January to three years probation for his March 2012 guilty plea to a conflict-of- interest charge. He was also ordered to pay more than $385,000 in restitution to the Coliseum Commission, perform 1,500 hours of community service and serve 14 days in jail — all of which he had already done by the time he was sentenced.
Lynch is set to return to court next year, when the defense will ask the judge to reduce the felony count to a misdemeanor.
Former Coliseum events manager Todd DeStefano pleaded no contest last April to a felony conflict-of-interest charge and was sentenced to six months in jail, ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution and three years probation.
Rave music promoter Reza Gerami, the owner of Go Ventures Inc., pleaded no contest last August to a misdemeanor charge and was immediately sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution.
Pasquale Rotella, the founder of Insomniac Events, pleaded no contest last August to misdemeanor conflict of interest and was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to make a $150,000 payment to the Los Angeles County Treasurer/Tax Collector.
Authorities said in 2012 that janitorial contractor Antonio (Tony) Estrada — who was also named in the grand jury indictment — was a fugitive. His current status is not clear.
Prosecutors said DeStefano provided the rave promoters with access to the Coliseum and low rates in exchange for more than $1.8 million in kickbacks from Rotella and Gerami.
One of DeStefano’s attorneys, Richard Hirsch, countered last year that “there’s been a totally false impression of what actually happened here,” and said the defense would have proven that “Todd DeStefano was a great employee and asset to the Coliseum Commission” had the case gone to trial.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy has been critical of prosecutors’ handling of the case, saying at a hearing last year that they were “just tripping over your feet and falling on your faces.”
At a hearing last year, the judge expressed concern over the management of the Coliseum, saying she was worried a similar case could arise because “there are no checks and balances, which is why what happened here took place.”
“Unless someone shines a light … there’s nobody in charge,” she said. “Things go awry and that’s what happened here.”
— City News Service