LA 2028’s Conflicts of Interest*

The Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2028 pitches the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. in 2016. (Credit: LA 2028 via Flickr).

This is the third in a three-part series delving into the most recent tax forms of the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2028 (LA 2028).

LA 2028’s Conflicts of Interest*

-In fiscal year 2017, JB Evans Inc. was paid $240,000 for consulting services. This company is more than 35 percent owned by former Olympic swimmer and LA 2028 Vice Chairperson and Director Janet Evans. 

According to the 990, board members without ties to JB Evans Inc. reviewed and approved the contract, and “Ms. Evans recused herself from and did not participate in discussions regarding this matter.” 

The 990 contains no clear definition or summary of the consulting services that were provided to LA 2028 by JB Evans Inc.

-The LA 2028 organization had similar business relationships with the following board members:

  1. Angela Ruggiero (chief strategy officer/director) and her company Ruggiero Sports Ventures LLC received $40,000 for consulting services.
  2. Social Cohesion Resources, which is more than 35 percent owned and controlled by Vice Chairperson and Director Candace Cable, was paid $44,000 for consulting services.
  3. Donna De Varona’s company Damar Productions Inc., which is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, was paid $30,000 for consulting services.
  4. Director Michael S. Dreyer’s accounting firm Dreyer Robbins & Assoc. was paid $18,500 for tax preparation and consulting services to LA 2028. The 990 states that the firm had a prior business relationship with LA 2028 that predated Dreyer joining the board.

-Chairperson, President and Director Casey Wasserman’s businesses received the following:

  1. Wasserman’s LCW LLC was reimbursed $314,994 for travel expenses related to his work with LA 2028.
  2. Additionally, 247 Group LLC, which is a subsidiary of Wasserman Media Group LLC and is more than 35 percent controlled by Wasserman, was paid $1.55 million for “social media marketing and content production services.”

“The disinterested members of the board of directors of the organization reviewed the organization’s contract with the 247 Group, LLC, determined that, among other things, the transaction was in the organization’s best interest, for its own benefit, and fair and reasonable, and approved the contract.”

As previously stated, Wasserman received no salary from the LA 2028 organization in fiscal year 2017.

-Multiple board members have business and personal relationships with one another, but at least one of those relationships has since been severed:

Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Jeannie Buss both sit on LA 2028’s board of directors. Buss is the president of the Los Angeles Lakers and the controlling owner of the NBA team.

Johnson was president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers until his abrupt resignation on April 9, 2019. Johnson no longer has any professional role with the team.

*Unless otherwise stated, this article’s content was sourced from fiscal year documents covering August 1, 2016, through July 31, 2017. This analysis is not exhaustive and does not include every potential conflict of interest.

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