Coliseum panel misses $500,000 rental payment to state

The financially strapped Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission has failed to pay $500,000 in rent to the state of California.

The board of the California Science Center, which owns the land where the Coliseum sits, has asked the state attorney general’s office to assess its legal options, Jeffrey Rudolph, the center’s president, said Friday.

The Coliseum is in deep financial difficulty. Officials there said this week that they may not have enough money to pay employees by the end of March.

The delinquent six-month rent payment, which was due Dec. 31, goes into a fund that supports public safety and maintenance of Exposition Park, 160 acres of state-owned land that is home to the Coliseum and several museums. The fund also supports the California African American Museum and the Science Center, which recently acquired the space shuttle Endeavour.


The Coliseum Commission has been trying to hand over day-to-day operations of the stadium complex to USC following a corruption scandal involving allegations of bribery, embezzlement and conflicts of interest against former executives, an ex-contractor and two rave promoters. The commission has lost $10.6 million in the last three years.

But the hand-over has stalled. The science center board chairman opposes USC’s demand for control of parking lots on the property, as does the Legislature’s Black Caucus.

Earlier this month, the president of the Coliseum Commission, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, said he had reached an agreement with a member of Gov. Jerry Brown’s cabinet, Anna Caballero, to defer rent payments until USC takes over.

But on Thursday, Caballero sent a letter to Knabe saying “there seems to have been a miscommunication” and stating that she lacks the authority to permit a late rent payment.


“If the Commission would like to defer rent payments, I encourage you to have that conversation directly with the Science Center,” Caballero wrote.