A former janitorial contractor charged in connection with a scandal that’s rocked the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is reportedly hiding out in Brazil with no plans to return stateside anytime soon.
Tony Estrada is among six named in a recently released, 29-count indictment that charged the venue’s former GM Patrick Lynch, former events manager Todd DeStefano, a technical manager, Insomniac Entertainment’s Pasquale Rotella and Go Ventures’ Reza Gerami with conspiracy, embezzlement, bribery and conflict of interest.
Estrada, who is alleged to have deposited roughly $385,000 into a bank account for Lynch, claims he was a whistleblower who brought evidence of financial misdealings at the venue to the attention of authorities last year.
“I gave them all the proof … and they are nailing me?” he told the Los Angeles Times. “How is that possible?”
He said Lynch demanded the money in order to keep his contract with the Coliseum, and explained he’d been misled that the payments were legal because the pair planned to start a business together.
“I am the one who provided the information about the corruption and I have been betrayed,” he said. “Instead of being a hero, I am a ‘criminal.’”
Lynch pleaded guilty March 28 to a single count of conflict of interest in order to avoid prison time; other men in the group have denied the charges.
In an interview with the Times, Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman told the paper entering a plea deal with Lynch in exchange for repayment of the funds was in the best interest of the public and the beleaguered Coliseum.
“It’s something I’ve never seen a defendant do in my about 10 years of prosecuting these kinds of cases – to come up with that kind of money, pay it back upfront, without a fight, immediately,” Huntsman said.
The DA added the counts against Lynch did not compare to the charges against DeStefano, Rotella and Gerami, who’ve been accused of multiple illegal acts involving much more money.
Insomniac Events noted in a recent statement the charges against Rotella will not impact upcoming events including the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas June 8-10.