This is a little like kicking them when they are down. City Controller Wendy Greuel today released an audit of the Coliseum Commission that found "management controls over Coliseum spending were weak or nonexistent, resulting in a dysfunctional and wasteful fiscal environment." Considering that the officials have already been arrested, and in one case has pleaded guilty, this doesn't come as a surprise. More from Greuel's office:
The audit also exposes a laundry list of questionable practices and poor decisions by Coliseum officials, including $870,000 in advance payments to companies in South America for events that never happened, at least $75,000 in bonuses paid to employees outside of the City’s payroll system that were not filed properly with the IRS and 42 instances of over $950,000 worth of untracked cash payments being made to technical staff.
“The lax oversight and poor state of the Coliseum’s finances are appalling,” said Greuel. “My audit found that the former General Manager established an unsuitable “do as I ask” tone-at-the-top that, combined with a complete absence of policies and procedures, created a dysfunctional and risk-prone culture.”
Controller Greuel’s audit reveals that between 2003 and 2009 Coliseum executives scheduled five separate dates to bring multiple different Uruguayan All Star soccer teams to the Coliseum. Despite investing over $870,000 in unreturned deposits, none of these events ever occurred and the Coliseum Commission Board never formally approved the event contracts.
The Coliseum Commission's top appointed officials had some criticisms of their own, including of Greuel.
We regret very much that you declined our offer to join you in a public announcement of this report. As you well know, many of your findings were based on information the Coliseum Commission has been assiduously collecting since July 2010. Many of the statements in your report also refer to the corrective strategies that have been underway for many months under the aegis of the Commission’s ad hoc committee on audit and policy compliance, which was created and appointed by us.
The Coliseum Commission fully acknowledges that, in the past, insufficient oversight was applied to the former managers of the Coliseum. The Commission accepts its responsibility and embraces its roll in instituting change and preserving the Coliseum for generations to come....
It is also important to note the failures that have existed in the Office of the Controller.
The Joint Powers Authority agreement that set forth the responsibilities of the Coliseum Commission in 1956 specifically states that the Office of the Controller of the City of Los Angeles has the responsibility to serve as the Controller of the Commission. Yet it was not until 2011 that the Controller’s office expressed any interest in its responsibilities in the financial management of the Coliseum and Sports Arena.
Had the City Controller’s office been as engaged the last four decades as it has been the last year, it is entirely possible that the illegal activity the Commission uncovered would never have occurred.
The letter is signed by Coliseum Commission president David Israel and VP Don Knabe, the county supervisor.