This is only tangentially related to the topic at hand here, but it’s just too good to pass up:
Last spring, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum set out to upgrade the sound system for its new video board. The equipment and shipping costs were steep — about $270,000.
Finance Director Ronald Lederkramer could have bought the gear the way other government agencies do, by issuing a check from the taxpayer-owned stadium.
Instead, he put the package of high-powered loudspeakers on his personal Chase Visa card, charging it in installments and paying those off with government checks that he and a lower-ranking employee signed, according to records and interviews.
In the process, depending on which Visa he used, Lederkramer earned roughly enough redeemable reward points for a week at the downtown Ritz-Carlton, two Bulova watches or even a pair of first-class round-trip United Airlines tickets to London or Tokyo worth as much as $24,000, award schedules show.
Asked about the Visa money laundering, Lederkramer acknowledged that he’d charged Coliseum bills to his personal card, saying he’d used his card points to travel to conferences on stadium business — but said he didn’t have documentation of those trips. “Why would I have kept that?” he told the Los Angeles Times.
Lederkramer’s actions were apparently against Coliseum purchasing rules, but it’s worth wondering: In situations where private sports teams control spending on stadium upgrades — whether or not they’re reimbursed by taxpayers — can team execs use this trick to gain similar benefits? Membership does have its privileges.