San Diego like Oakland, says Bond Buyer,

Raiders ticket sales did not meet projections

— The scrap over the stadium has drawn the attention of the Bond Buyer, the national magazine for those in the business of buying and selling municipal securities. "Bond dealers wonder if San Diego is repeating a mistake made by officials in Oakland - who were widely criticized for being too optimistic with their stadium revenue projections," the magazine reported Monday. "Analysts at John Nuveen & Co. on Friday drew some parallels between the San Diego transaction and the lopsided $197 million contract Oakland and Alameda County used to entice the Raiders back to Oakland. In that deal, the bonds' 30-year maturity extended well beyond the Raiders' 19-year contract, and ticket sales did not meet projections that would have allowed the municipalities to retire debt service early." The magazine also points out that "the San Diego bonds mature in 2027, seven years after the Chargers' promise to stay in San Diego expires. And the team and the 1998 Super Bowl are important revenue sources for the City." Nuveen analyst Ben Stairs told the magazine, "Facilities can't be the weak link in the revenue structure. They have to be able to generate enough revenue to cover the expenses to upgrade." Still, the City's overall bond rating isn't expected to suffer. Under terms of the stadium bonds, local tax money will be used to make the bond payments, even if the stadium revenue comes up short. "We're not concerned that the City will not be able to honor its obligations," said Jeff Thiemann, an analyst for Standard & Poor's.

Used judge salesman

The Poway car dealer who pleaded guilty last year to obstruction of justice in San Diego's notorious crooked judges case is fighting to keep two of his dealerships. James Williams, owner of Rancho Jeep-Eagle, Rancho Oldsmobile, and Rancho Saab, admitted as part of a plea bargain that his lawyer, Patrick Frega, arranged for him to practice his testimony in front of Judge Michael Greer to prepare for a damage suit filed by the car dealer against Security Pacific Bank. Williams also said Frega told him to "take care" of Greer and G. Dennis Adams and James Malkus, the two other ex-judges later found guilty in the corruption case. Greer pleaded guilty and testified against Frega, who was also convicted. After Williams pleaded guilty, Oldsmobile and Saab, citing a provision in their sales agreement that gives them the right to pull franchises from convicted felons, moved to shut him down. In December, the state's New Motor Vehicle Board agreed with the car companies, but Williams went to court, arguing that pleading guilty was not the same as being convicted. Three weeks ago, a superior court judge agreed with Williams and sent the case back to the vehicle board for further review, his lawyer told the trade magazine Automotive News. The magazine also reported that documents filed by Oldsmobile and Saab claimed that the Williams dealerships were not performing up to par. "Saab testified that for the second quarter of 1996, Rancho Saab ranked 259th out of 266 Saab dealerships nationwide...for service and 193rd out of 266 for sales and delivery."

Checking in and out

The FBI's top man in San Diego, Robert E. Walsh, is being promoted to San Francisco. He'll replace Special Agent in Charge Jim Freeman, who, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, went to work as a security consultant for stockbroker Charles Schwab & Co. Walsh, who has two brothers in the FBI, came here as special agent in charge in 1994.... Jeff Klotzman, who suddenly quit as news director at TV station KGTV in a move widely seen as a forced resignation, has been hired as news director at Phoenix ABC affiliate KNXV. Klotzman, who declined to talk much about his December departure from KGTV, was hailed by his new boss, KNXV station manager Michael Kronley, who noted that KGTV news pulled in big ratings numbers under Klotzman. Cessna of St. Louis Using a single-engine 1974 Cessna, a Texas pilot is planning to recreate the trans-Atlantic flight of Charles Lindbergh, right down to Lindbergh's trip from San Diego to St. Louis and then on to New York and Paris. Bill Signs of Addison plans to leave here May 10 in preparation for his ocean crossing May 20, the 70th anniversary of Lindbergh's takeoff.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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