“Chargers Football–Bad Problems & More”
What we saw as a potential issue in 2017…is apparently coming true in 2020.
At least I thought this was the game plan all along for the Chargers and owner Dean Spanos.
As the Chargers feuded with anyone-everyone about a new Stadium, it dawned on me, they would never agree to help build a new Stadium-because Dean Spanos’ game plan all along was to move to Los Angeles.
As far back as 2010-when the Chargers hired a firm to seek out an LA based investor, it dawned on me the Spanos family had financial issues, and were possibly looking to move the franchise to LA where the Rams and Raiders had left..
And now 10-years later, comes the story in the spotlight. The Spanos move to Los Angeles has been fraught with problem after problem. Now the family’s business has spilled into public, with the 156-page lawsuit filed by Dea Spanos, the oldest sister and head of the Spanos Foundation.
She has gone to court demanding a judge order Dean to put the franchise up for sale, because of bad business decisions, the loss of enormous amounts of money triggered by the move to Los Angeles, and Dean’s lack of plan to work out the financial distress that exists today.
Key items in the lawsuit:
..The franchise debt is 353M.
..The Chargers losses are 11M per year since the move to Los Angeles.
..The Chargers have defaulted on 22M in charity donations
..The Spanos family owes 75M in Estate taxes
..The Chargers owe the NFL 650M in territorial fees beginning this year
..Spanos has no financial plan to eradicate the losses
..Spanos goes to one back to get loans to pay off past bank loans
The teams ownership breaks down this way:
..The Spanos foundation owns 36% control
..Dean-Michael-Alexi-Dea own 15% control each (60%) total
..The Pernicarno Family owns the final 4% from San Diego days
Spanos took over day to day operation of the team in 1994…ten years after his father Alex bought the team from Gene Klien in 1984.
The franchise pleaded for a new Stadium, but historically asked the city or county to pay the entire cost and then turn the keys over to them.
They made a proposal they would build a new stadium themselves, if the city gave them all 87-acres of land at the Qualcomm site to develop themselves.
Then when the City-County consortium finally developed a plan to build a 1.2B new stadium on the Mission Valley land, after the CSAG consortium brought all parties together, Spanos refused to negotiate.
He created a sham stadium idea at the Tailgate Park next to the Padres Stadium, a plan that had no chance of passing.
The end result, he watched as the proposals were voted down, and then announced he was moving to LA in 2017.
Now 3-years later we find out, he has huge money problems. The NFL has banned the Chargers and the Rams from being put up for sale after they moved to LA and the valuation of the teams went up.
And in the midst of the suit, comes a letter that Dean told his family he would hire an investor group to help sell the team in 2024…when the NFL ban ends.
But in the interim, the franchise has staggered financially. 44M in losses in 4-years after the owner turned his back on profits and sellouts in San Diego, walking away from 55-years of loyalty from Chargers fans.
Now the NFL, the nation, everyone knows the serious problems that exist, not just on the field, but behind closed doors where the team is drowning in red ink.
Spanos says he is willing to buy out the sister, but where is that money coming from. Daniel Snyder had to come up with 450M to buy out 40% of his feuding minority shareholders. That would mean Spanos would have to get that much financing to buy out his older sister and the foundations shares. Where is that money coming from?
The old business axiom, ‘you are not in bankruptcy, but if word gets out you are close to bankruptcy, you will wind up in bankruptcy.
Only time tells if the NFL does an intervention. Only time tells if Spanos gets to his goal, selling the team and going off into the sunset with some types of profits.
San Diego wants to see him suffer for what he did. They’d hate to have him profit from his legacy of screwing the community. They root for him to lose.
If Dean Spanos has struggled with the image of being a loser, 14-winning seasons in 36-years of ownership, think of how he is struggling now with this lawsuit publicity everywhere, that says he is a bad business person..
He’s been mocked everywhere, starting from Day 1-when the LA Times lead columnist headlined “You are not welcome here”]
Then the Union Tribune columnist started calling him ‘Fredo’ Spanos after the son Fredo in the movie the ‘Godfather’. Remembering Fredo in the movie yelling at his brother Michael Corleone “I’m not stupid like everyone says…I’m smart and I deserve respect:
So here we are today, the franchise, the owner, the decisions, and now a bitter lawsuit.
Chargers football. Bad seasons. Bad Problems. Bad Owner.
Nothing good comes out of any of this, not for the Chargers in LA..not for Spanos..and surely nothing for a franchise that had its heart ripped out when he walked away from San Diego.
Can’t say I am surprised. But that does not change where our community is right now, with a hole in our angry heart, no stadium, no team.