Glowsticks and gavels: EDC’s Pasquale Rotella heads to court next week

Electric Daisy Carnival creator Pasquale Rotella at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Photo: Bill Hughes

Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rotella has been able to breathe a little easier recently, after a civil suit filed by LA city officials in 2011—accusing him and another promoter of participating in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme with LA Coliseum officials—was thrown out by a judge on July 12.

But it’s not all rainbows for the rave kingpin, who will be back in court in LA on July 29 to face a separate set of charges that he diverted $2.5 million in funds from the LA Coliseum into the pockets of city officials to stage Electric Daisy Carnival there before its move to Vegas in 2011. If convicted, Rotella faces nearly 14 years in prison.

What might happen to the company and events like EDC is anyone’s guess, but with Live Nation’s recent purchase of a 50 percent stake in Insomniac, to the tune of a rumored $50 million, the show will likely go on.

"Our contract is with Insomniac and Live Nation as a company, not Pasquale as an individual,” says a Las Vegas Motor Speedway official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as LVMS does not comment on pending legal matters. "Who knows what happens with that company [if Rotella leaves], but there’s no reason the event wouldn’t go on, no matter what happens. Plans for 2014 are set to go forward either way."

Las Vegas Events, the event promoter and booker for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, declined to comment.

How, and what those plans might look like, however, remain separate questions. From EDC’s colorful stages to its Night Owl Experience at June’s event, much of the show’s look and feel is shaped directly by Rotella’s hands-on involvement. What might EDC look like without him? While Insomniac’s team of creatives would likely continue to hone and execute Rotella’s vision, the reins of the business could go to chief growth officer John Boyle, who assumed the newly-created post—which manages new business efforts and forays into new markets—on an interim basis last fall.

Still, Rotella, a part-time Las Vegan, maintains that his name will be cleared, just in time for his impending August wedding to Holly Madison.

“I don’t plan on going anywhere. I have confidence everything is going to work out the way it should, and the truth will prevail,” he told the Weekly’s John Katsilometes in November. “I’m taking it seriously, but I’m not thinking it’s going to take me away.”

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