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LA City Controller Greuel announces audit of LA Memorial Coliseum

July 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The problems are mounting for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Wednesday, the city announced it is conducting its first top-to-bottom audit of the historic stadium. Red flags that prompted city officials to take action.

There are 32 employees who work at the Coliseum. Earlier this month, 21 of them got pay raises. But the raises were never authorized by the Coliseum's governing board.

"No one was minding the store as to how this was actually happening," said L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel Wednesday.

At a news conference Wednesday morning, Greuel said the raises never took effect because her office noticed that they had been submitted without the proper paperwork.

"A lot of questions have been asked about how this has occurred. And it was, I felt, my responsibility as the city controller is to look at the books and question these pay increases," said Greuel.

The raises varied. One employee got a 17-percent bump, while others got a 5-percent pay hike. Those were approved by Coliseum Interim General Manager John Sandbrook.

Coliseum Commission President David Israel says Sandbrook admits he made a mistake.

"He made a correctable error and it has been corrected," Israel said in a telephone interview. "Nothing untoward happened because the system of checks and balances worked."

"It's very unfortunate that it happened," said Coliseum Commissioner Rick Caruso. "I think it was an honest mistake."

Caruso says the mistake sheds light on a larger problem.

"You can't have 12 people be responsible for one entity, especially when you're trying to be competitive in a private setting," said Caruso.

Greuel says she will launch a top-to-bottom audit of the Coliseum's front office. Her investigation comes on the heels of an investigation by L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley's office.

"Following the reports of potential conflicts of interest and misuse of car allowances among Coliseum employees, I said enough is enough," said Greuel.

Greuel says the City Controller's Office has every right to audit what's happening in that office.

No word yet on whether Coliseum officials agree with her. She's waiting for them to respond in writing.

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