Was the LA Olympics bid bought?
Here’s something curious:
In 2017, before a city council vote for Los Angeles to host the 2028 Olympics, Casey Wasserman’s mother Lynne wasserman gave money to David Ryu, then a new member to City Council.
Okay… but who the fuck is Casey Wasserman, you may be asking?
Wasserman is Chairman of the LA 2024/LA 2028 Olympic bid and quietly one of the most influential oligarchs in LA. Casey is the ultra-rich, smooth-palmed grandson of notorious Hollywood fixer Lew Wasserman, who was rumored to have funneled mafia money into the studio system, and son of disgraced money launderer Jack Meyers.
Wasserman gives millions of dollars to the LAPD Foundation, a non-profit arm of the LAPD, already one of the most deeply endowed, most murderous law enforcement units in existence. He holds interests in media companies like Vox (Curbed, Vox, Eater, SB Nation), his own sports media agency (Wasserman), cicLAvia, a PR firm Laundry Service (who represented Papa John during his slur-filled conference call). He has buildings named for him at UCLA, his alma mater, and buys out overpaid college football coaches from their ridiculous contracts. He also owns the most expensive home for sale in LA ($125M!), a gaudy mansion he doesn’t have time to live in due to his “frequent travel for his role on the Olympic Committee.”
Casey Wasserman is a professional rich kid, someone who spends someone else’s money for a living. He is a big backer of pro-police, pro-war, pro-privatization establishment Democrats. He’s donated millions to the Clintons and their insidious foundation. Casey Wasserman is also former associates of noted child rapist and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and at the exact time that Epstein was apprehended and first “attempted suicide” in July, Wasserman locked down all of his social media accounts.
It’s Wasserman and his obscenely caked up media and real estate pals like Bob Iger and Rick Caruso who stand to profit from LA hosting another Olympics.
Casey himself has already donated to other electeds who voted for the LA Olympics: Curren Price and occasional Mayor Eric Garcetti to name a few. Casey’s wife, Laura Ziffren, also a Garcetti donor, is the granddaughter of one of the key players of the 1984 LA Olympics, aka “The Capitalist Games.”
It’s worth noting that Casey is not registered as a lobbyist, so there’s no legal reason he would need to give a donation through a family member. But maybe there’s the reason of optics.
When Casey’s mother donated to David Ryu only a few months prior to the LA 2028 vote, Ryu was one of the junior members of City Council, having served less than two years representing CD4. We know that the Olympic boosters wanted to have a unanimous City Council vote (most of the votes by LA’s City Council are unanimous, uncoincidentally) in August of 2017. We know this because we saw them personally setting up for a victory celebration at the steps of City Hall, hours before the vote took place. We know both the IOC and our City Hall hate the appearance of dissent and that anything less than unquestioned support would be desirable for a group of business and political interests who didn’t want to see their bid nuked the way it was in Boston and essentially every other Olympic bidding city.
The final vote was 12–0 in favor of the bid. David Ryu was one of the “Ayes,” despite the fact that I sat down with a member of Ryu’s staff in the months prior to this vote to discuss legitimate concerns about the impact of the games on Los Angeles. By his own admission, this staff member had no knowledge of what the basic consequences and risks of hosting the Olympics were and indicated that no one in his office was any better informed, nor had they even read the fine print of the bid.
The 2028 Olympic “vote” was a rushed rubber stamp job, no doubt.
But the question remains: was Casey Wasserman stupid enough to have his mother bribe a fresh-faced council person?
I reached out to both Wasserman via LA28 and David Ryu’s campaign office. Neither commented on these donations or their relationship.
If there’s nothing to hide, then what’s going on here?
Jonny Coleman is an organizer with the NOlympics LA coalition.