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MLS stadium hospitality boss accused of disabling concessions system on matchday

A former hospitality executive at San Jose Earthquakes’ stadium faces up to 10 years in prison after being charged over allegations he intentionally disabled all the arena’s point-of-sale concessions terminals on a matchday, causing nearly $270,000 of damages.

Salvatore A. La Rosa was operations and premium services manager for concessions provider Spectra Food Services and Hospitality at the Major League Soccer (MLS) team’s Earthquakes Stadium on February 29, 2020, when all 204 terminals were disabled due to the deletion of menu and payment options ahead of a game against Toronto FC that was attended by 18,000 fans.

According to The Mercury News, court papers filed by the US Attorney’s Office in San Jose on Tuesday allege that La Rosa accessed Spectra’s account at Bypass Mobile, which provides online menu and payment applications for stadiums, and transmitted commands to delete menu and payment options. The complaint does not allege a motivation for La Rosa’s actions.

The shutdown meant workers could not operate their point-of-sale terminals, access menus and prices, complete card transactions or open cash drawers.

“As a consequence, the staff had to handwrite orders, use calculators to facilitate cash transactions, and received unwanted verbal abuse from customers,” assistant US Attorney Susan Knight wrote in the complaint. “In some instances, Spectra had to provide free food and beverages to club members because of the lack of credit card processing.”

Philadelphia-based Spectra, which provides venue management and concessions services across US sport, suffered more than $268,000 in damages, according to the complaint.

If convicted of the charge, La Rosa faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.