There are “no poor football team owners,” as a spokesman for the Chargers recently put it.
The Spanos family, which owns the majority shares of the Chargers franchise, is worth $2.4 billion, according to Forbes.
As the team lobbies for public money to subsidize a new stadium and convention center, the Spanoses’ wealth has come under scrutiny: Why, people ask, should San Diego taxpayers use billions in public tax dollars to support billionaires?
Less understood is where the family fortune came from. Alex Spanos, the family’s 93-year-old patriarch, once had nothing but ended up building a real estate empire. How? To build great wealth, you have to first build up some money – capital – you can later invest.
For Spanos, it started with bologna sandwiches and Mexican farmworkers. The family has long faced questions, in fact, of whether Spanos helped exploit farmworkers in the notorious Bracero program that started nearly 70 years ago.
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My eyes burned as I read this article the first time. My dad first came to California as a bracero. To think that the Spanos family built up their wealth by gouging hard working people like my dad is simply disgusting. I didn't think I could resent the Chargers any more than I already did.
It is challenging to get that rich without standing on the backs of the "little people" and the taxpayers.
You can still find some of these 75 year old baloney sandwiches on display at some of the markets downtown. Really, trying to tarnish this man's enterprising success story because he made a little profit? That's the liberal jealously machine at work. Dude fed, housed, and grew a workforce that launched a powerhouse state and economy, and you're going to cry because the workers had to eat what would pass for a school lunch in most places now? C'mon guys.
@Kenneth Gardner said trying to tarnish this man's enterprising success story because he made a little profit.
Did you read the article?
Say, let's cast aspersions on the Evil Spanos Gang and bury this sentence in the middle ot the article:
"Some research from the time details these complaints, but none specifically cites Spanos or his operations."
Well, darn. Ah heck, let's trash 'em with innuendo anyway! I'm not paying $83 for a bologna sandwich at a new stadium!
This is interesting history about the old man, but his son Dean has been running this train wreck for a long time. How about some background info on Dean? I’m just guessing here, but I’ll bet that Dean never had a real job: You know, one where you have to come to work on time every day because Daddy doesn’t own the business.
Since Dean has become the guy in charge, he’s acted like the city owes him a living. He’s a classic welfare queen. Everyone knows some of his biggest fiascos, like firing Marty Schottenheimer after he went 14-2 because he wasn't buddy buddy with A J Smith, who “inherited” the GM job when John Butler died. As far as I know, it was Smith’s first (and only) GM gig, but Dean backed Smith in the showdown and Marty went away.
Then he lets Smith bring in Norv Turner, a good offensive coordinator who had already demonstrated he isn’t head coach material, and keeps him for what? Five seasons? Then he dumps both Smith and Turner, gets cagey and hires an experienced GM as a “consultant” to help him pick the perfect General Manager and Head Coach. Oh, and he installs his two sons over the two executives he brings in. How’s that working out, Dean? Wanna bet he doesn’t fire Mike McCoy a couple of games from now because he’s a clone of Norv Turner? Brilliant!
His inept PR with the city is just classic. He has now announced that there’s no way the Qualcomm site could fit his needs in the event voters don’t give him a 2/3 majority on his scheme to steal 4% of the hotel taxes that could be used for myriad other, more productive applications; you know, like infrastructure?. His proposal is simply nonsense. Does he really think he'll intimidate the city into a big giveaway? What Spanos is really admitting here is that he doesn’t have enough cash to pay a significant part of a new stadium cost, it’s all tied up in the team.
His thinking is this simple: The Padres got a downtown stadium so I’m entitled to one too! His hired “experts” like Fred Maas, who appeared on a Padres TV broadcast the other night, make the same tired “free lunch” and job creation claims you always hear on major projects. But Maas’ logic, that the new stadium would create hundreds, if not thousands of NEW jobs overlooks the fact that there are currently a lot of people working to hold Qualcomm together. What happens to them?
When one of the Padres’ announcers asked Maas how often Super Bowls would take place in the new stadium, he dissembled, explaining that the commissioner (the 42 million dollar man) told him he thought San Diego was a great place for Super Bowls (Year, every 15 years or so). And, the claim that only hotel visitors would pay the higher TOT fees is bunk as well. How many weekly and daily home rentals now exist? This is a fast growing sector and many of the “visitors” are actually San Diego city or county residents who just want a week, e.g., at the beach? They’ll pay the higher TOT.
Please sell, Dean.
@Bill Bradshaw I agree with your thesis Bill. But before Spanos sells let's do a symbolic act in the name of fairness.
Since Spanos made his fortune on exploiting braceros for $1.75 baloney sandwiches, let's charge him $1.75 Bil. for his baloney stadium to be built in MV. And any savings from construction costs to go to bracero survivors and their descendants.
@Bill Bradshaw Are the Chargers (mainly Fred Maas) still claiming that 7,000 will be working in their new convadium thingy?
@Bill Bradshaw You're actually arguing that a significant segment of TOT tax is paid by locals? Who buy "a week at the beach?" Would love to see the stats on that one. And the day politicians in this city or any other will raise a TOT tax 4% to pay for infrastructure repair is the day the planet starts spinning backwards. But your argument that hiring Norv Turner is grounds for banishment from the human race has some merit.
@Joe Jones @Bill Bradshaw Joe, I live in Mission Beach and can attest to what I said: there are a lot of locals who "stacation" in town for a few days or a week. I didn't say it made up a substantial portion of the potential new TOT, but if it's 1/100th of 1% Spanos is still lying. He's trying to sell the same "free lunch" concept that Susan Golding sold on Petco Park. That's costing us 10-11 mil annually.
@Bill Bradshaw @Joe Jones So...you admit you have absolutely no idea--as in none--of the number of locals staying in area hotels. But you live in Mission Beach, so we'll take your word for it that it's at least one. Therefore, Spanos is "lying." I'm not sure how I'll vote on C, but I imagine I'll be persuaded in one direction or the other by an argument that isn't patently absurd.
This sums it pretty well:
"I understand that running a football team worth billions is a hard undertaking; I could never imagine doing it myself. The simple truth might be that some people—and some families—are just not meant to run a sports franchise. Given the Chargers’ inability to win much of anything in over fifty years of existence, including wasting the talent of two Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterbacks, tends to make me think that the current ownership group doesn’t know how to get the job done.
Sell the team. Sell it to San Diego surfer dude Ryan Graves, a billionaire who originated in starting Uber. Sell it to Steve Ballmer—the dude has more money than God, and seems to like to have a whole lot of fun. Just watch this Funny or Die video if you need more confirmation.
Sell the team, and maybe, just maybe, a new stadium will get built in San Diego. Sell the team, and you all can make a quick buck or two, living comfortably for the rest of your lives. Sell the team, and maybe, just maybe, it will renew my faith in the Chargers organization.
Because it sure is hard rooting for Dean Spanos’ Chargers.
The Spanos propaganda machine is comprised of nothing but a bunch of liars and hypocrites. There are some horrific stories/rumors about how Spanos made his first money and have nothing to do with braceros whom he obviously exploited to the hilt. Many locals in his own hometown recognize him as the top provider of services rhyming with the word "constitution".
@Belinda Smith No.
@Dean Plassaras The Spanos family just does not seem particularly invested in San Diego, nor the team for that matter.