As previously reported, celebrity skater Rob Dyrdek is under fire for an alleged laundry list of felonies related to the construction of skate plazas all across the country. Criminal complaints filed with authorities in Los Angeles contest a “series of ’sole source’ [contract] awards to California Skateparks,” a construction company run by Dyrdek’s business partner Joe Ciaglia. Allegations say the basis for L.A. giving Ciaglia contracts to build Street League-style skate plazas in public parks all over the city were “contingent offers of donations made [by] the Rob Dyrdek Foundation.” The two self-proclaimed friends are financial partners in Street League, a commercial series of skateboarding events. Not disclosing their financial interests to the city is a felony, say the charges.
Dyrdek has been the advance man, and the public face, in securing many of California Skatepark’s contracts, building dozens of Street League-style plazas all across the country. In general, Dyrdek approaches a city council with his plan to build a skate plaza, a plan he says is worth $50,000. Dyrdek will donate his plan, but only if Ciaglia gets a construction contract, often in the million-dollar range. The charges allege that through the practice “Ciaglia has committed upwards of 49 counts of perjury, and 49 counts of civil fraud,” and that he “violated the California False Claims Act” and “intentionally misled the City [of Los Angeles].” Add on the “verifiable felonies [of] bid-rigging, perjury,” “violations [of] the Wire Act,” and engaging in “sham bids” with “low bid and change order” schemes.
Allegations say Dyrdek is actually donating to himself, as with his North Hollywood Park proposal, requiring “funds [go] directly [to] California Skateparks.” The donations have other strings attached, which seem to give Dyrdek back substantially more than he’s donated. These include “exclusive use of plaza(s), for a maximum of twenty (20) non-consecutive days per year” for “events,” and rights for “naming of the plaza.” Dyrdek designed a public North Hollywood plaza in the shape of his trademarked logo for his animated series Wild Grinders. Over time, Dyrdek’s cost for renting Street League event space, and advertising space, would presumably exceed the cash value of his donation. California Skateparks recently posted on its website that a new taxpayer-funded Denver-area skate plaza, that began with a Dyrdek donation, “has the potential to host one of the Street League events.” One floor ticket to the August 26th Street League event in New Jersey costs $169. The profits go to Dyrdek and Ciaglia.
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