USC Sticks With The L.A. Coliseum Despite Disappointing Audit
The LAMCC issued a response that admitted to its failed management over fiscal operations in recent years.
The letter signed by President of the LAMCC David Israel and Vice President Don Knabe said their appointed managers were in the wrong.
"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."
The LAMCC went on to say that it plans to remedy the past mistakes.
"While the Commission has long been aggressively pursuing those who violated the public trust, some are now laying claim to being the impetus for our efforts. In fact, as we are pleased to note is evident in your report, we have been readily providing information to the District Attorney so justice may follow its due course."
L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Coliseum Commission, also released a statement regarding the Greuel's audit, saying that the audit reinforces the need for a new management structure.
"The City Controller's audit captures many of the major financial missteps that have put the Coliseum in its current predicament. Her recommendations for correcting the past mismanagement, however, stop short of what is truly required: the Coliseum needs an entirely new governance and management model."
The Coliseum is a public entity that is currently governed by the LAMCC-- a joint powers agency created in agreement among three public agencies-- but is directly managed by appointed officers. Ridley-Thomas said this management system has got to go.
"It's unrealistic to expect such a body to provide the kind of hands-on oversight required at the Coliseum today. Part-time supervision by elected officials is an out-dated model."
Though the future of the Coliseum's management is still uncertain, the University of Southern California is currently collaborating with the LAMCC over a newly amended lease and agreement document.
A Term Sheet released in early January 2012 listed the points of agreement to be added into a revised lease document.
According to the new points of agreement included in the term sheet, USC will lease the Commission-owned property for 20 years unless the university chooses to pursue extension options. USC's lease term is set to be no longer than 99 years.
The term sheet also discusses USC's commitment to the Coliseum's capital improvements.
"USC will be responsible for undertaking and achieving a comprehensive series of capital improvements to the Coliseum at USC's cost. Such effort is desired by both USC and the Commission as a Centennial Capital Program to be performed in connection with the 100th anniversary of the start of construction of the original Coliseum structure, which will occur in December 2021."
Since the university will have authority over event scheduling as well, it has agreed to make the Coliseum available for the 2015 International Special Olympics hosted in Los Angeles and for Super Bowl L.
The amended Lease Agreement between the LAMCC and USC was officially released to the public Tuesday.
Though USC and the LAMCC are in agreement that the university will sub-lease the Coliseum for a set term, the Coliseum will remain a publicly-owned asset.
David Galaviz, Executive Director of the USC Local Government Relations department, clarified this.
"USC is not purchasing nor taking ownership of the Coliseum. USC is only seeking a modified lease to allow the university to improve the stadium."
Reach Staff Reporter Letticia Lee here.