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Two L.A. Coliseum managers go on leave amid calls for their ouster

EntertainmentMusicConcertsEconomy, Business and FinanceJobs and WorkplaceDon KnabeZev Yaroslavsky

Days after City Councilman Bernard C. Parks demanded their dismissals, two managers of the scandal-ridden Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum have been allowed to take paid medical and administrative leave, according to documents and interviews.

Ronald Lederkramer, the No. 2 administrator for the Coliseum's governing commission, requested and was granted a medical leave for at least six weeks, the panel's interim general manager, John Sandbrook, said in an email to the stadium's staff.

The facility's technology manager, Leopold Caudillo Jr., is on paid administrative leave, Sandbrook said in a separate email to the commission.

The Times obtained copies of both documents.

A firm founded by Caudillo and a co-worker has been paid about $30,000 by the commission, mostly since last summer, state and Coliseum records show. The co-worker, David Shea, has also gone on medical leave, according to a Coliseum official who requested anonymity because of what the official termed the sensitive nature of the matter.

Parks, a commission member, has said that Caudillo and Shea should be ousted because of their connection to the firm, HH Tech, and that Lederkramer and Sandbrook should be removed because they have failed to effectively address financial abuses at the Coliseum.

On Thursday, Parks, whose council district includes the Coliseum and adjacent Sports Arena, said the leaves were "in the best interests of the operation."

He said he hoped Lederkramer, Caudillo and Shea would not return to their jobs and Sandbrook would depart as soon as the commission comes up with a new management plan. "This gives the Coliseum Commission the ability to do a clean sweep," Parks said.

Most of the other eight members of the commission would not comment or did not respond to interview requests. Among them were Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky, who recruited Sandbrook, Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Sandbrook did not answer emailed questions. Reached by phone, Lederkramer and Caudillo said they had no comment. Attempts to contact Shea were unsuccessful.

Sandbrook, a former UCLA administrator, has repeatedly defended Lederkramer's performance and recently granted him a 17% raise. Commission President David Israel rescinded it, along with other pay increases Sandbrook approved, including about 5% for Caudillo, according to records from the city controller's office.

In the email to his staff, Sandbrook said Lederkramer's medical leave was "not a subterfuge for any personnel action about which others have incorrectly speculated."

"Our concern for Ron is that he returns to full health as quickly as possible so that, we hope, he will be able to rejoin us later during fall 2011," Sandbrook wrote, saying the details of Lederkramer's situation were private.

Caudillo said in an earlier interview that he no longer owned HH Tech and that Shea was the current owner. Asked later if he was the owner, Shea did not respond. The most recent records available from the California secretary of state's office list Caudillo as the company's only manager.

Billing records obtained through the California Public Records Act show Caudillo as the purchaser on 13 of 14 Coliseum orders for HH Tech's services.

State law generally prohibits government employees from making, participating in or otherwise influencing decisions by their agency in which they have a financial interest.

Lederkramer authorized most of the payments to HH Tech, the records show. A commission attorney has said that Lederkramer denied knowing of any connection between HH Tech and Caudillo or Shea.

In a recent email to fellow commissioners calling for the dismissals, Parks referred to other Times reports on questionable Coliseum spending, including payments to Lederkramer to cover most of the costs of a leased Jaguar as well as his personal auto insurance.

"None of these oversights or the growing list of allegations are being corrected, and we are bleeding to death from a thousand cuts," Parks wrote.

Sandbrook replaced former General Manager Patrick Lynch, who resigned shortly after The Times reported in February that he approved a business arrangement between his events manager and a production company that staged rave concerts at the Coliseum and Sports Arena.

Records and interviews showed that two firms run by the events manager, Todd DeStefano, collected more than $1.8 million from the concert firm and several other companies that did business with the commission while he was on the Coliseum payroll.

DeStefano has denied doing anything wrong, and Lynch's attorney has said his client has done nothing improper.

paul.pringle@latimes.com

ron.lin@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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EntertainmentMusicConcertsEconomy, Business and FinanceJobs and WorkplaceDon KnabeZev Yaroslavsky
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