Dean Spanos's new hired hand

Fred Maas has specialized in downtown corporate welfare

The Chargers announced yesterday afternoon (February 8) that Fred Maas, a specialist in steering public money into private real estate ventures, has been named a special advisor to the team's chief executive, Dean Spanos, who is trying to get citizens to ante up for a football stadium.

Fred Maas

Fred Maas

Maas, once chief executive of the former Centre City Development Corporation, has concentrated many of his corporate-welfare lobbying and fundraising on downtown projects.

Spanos says he is open to a Mission Valley site for a new stadium but prefers downtown. Maas will advise Spanos on the citizens' initiative process, including "the exploration of possible stadium financing plans that would be publicly accessible," according to a news release sent out by Mark Fabiani, Chargers public relations spokesman and strategist.

Maas has been involved in real estate much of his career. He was developer of Black Mountain Ranch, site of the Santaluz and Del Sur neighborhoods. Maas served as former mayor Jerry Sanders's advisor on a downtown sports and entertainment district — possibly another clue on the direction his lobbying and public persuasion will take.

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This is exactly what you predicted, Don. The Chargers mistakenly assumed that they would get to move to the Carson site. When it turned out that the Chargers would be second fiddle to the Rams (and a tenant or junior junior junior partner in the multi-billion dollar stadium the Rams are building) you said that the Chargers would come back to San Diego and massage the local politicians into giving up taxpayer money for a new stadium. And here we go.

RookBeyer: I don't like to take bows, but I said all along that Carson was a hastily-thrown-together plan with financing that wouldn't work. I think the NFL owners realized that. And I didn't think the Chargers or Raiders had the bucks to go to Inglewood.

The NFL wants the Chargers to stay in San Diego, even though the market, never strong, will be even weaker with a team or teams in LA. The proffered gift of $100 million toward a stadium shows the NFL's intentions. But the Chargers will not put in $350 million of their own money, even after counting naming rights and ad rights as their contribution.

WARNING: San Diegans may wind up putting close to a billion dollars into this. One trick may be that money will be taken from the transient occupancy (hotel) tax, which will be raised. People will be told that the money will come from out-of-towners. That is nonsense because that money would have gone toward necessary expenditures in San Diego if it would not be steered to the Chargers.

Another lesser point: will San Diegans want a $1.1 billion stadium when LA has one worth $2.66 billion? Think about it.

A very significant point is that combined stadium/convention center expansions don't work, even if the expansion is one block from the main center. The one being discussed in downtown San Diego will be around five blocks away. Best, Don Bauder

However, I don't think Carson was a bluff. The Chargers wanted to move to Carson and they thought that they would. The mistake the Chargers made - amazingly stupid with 20/20 hindsight - is that NFL owners would value friendship and personal loyalty over money. Spanos offered loyalty and friendship to the other owners; Kroenke offered money.

ImJustABill: Yes, if we can believe rumors, right after the vote, Kroenke wrote a $550 million check for a relocation fee. That went right into the pockets of the owners. Money was always going to settle this, and both the Spanos and Davis families (of the Raiders) don't have enough of the stuff. Best, Don Bauder

None of the fantasy football works. Pay to play is a bad gamble loss. And Don, you are also right, the plot is gambling.

shirleyberan: If gambling on games were stopped, the NFL would take a big hit. Gambling and the NFL have been going steady for almost 100 years. Best, Don Bauder

James Giberson: Perhaps the best legacy Spanos can leave behind is his decision to sell the team to a multibillionaire who can afford Inglewood and can also afford to fix up Qualcomm and keep the team in San Diego, despite a shrinking market. Best, Don Bauder

Kind of off topic. But then when it comes to the subject of a somewhat possible development of the Mission Valley property, I find a curious thread in many of the comments I read in various media. Many people keep bringing up "tailgating at Mission Valley" and the "oh what wonder superbowls we will have..."

The reality is that any development is going to eliminate the parking lot acreage at "Qualcomm." There will be little space remaining for "tailgating." Maybe an area reserved for motorhomes that pay a hefty fee to "tailgate." But the NFL and San Diego want most people to use the trolley. That leaves people captive to the food and beverage prices inside the profitdome.

As far as superbowls, the way the NFL has committed itself to so many NFL actors, the likelihood of a "perma-superbowl" is out of the question. The reality is that San Diego might get one (1) superbowl every decade. So I will be dead before I see a forth Superbowl played in San Diego. (That's if I don't die before I see the third one.)

Ponzi: I doubt if San Diego would get one Super Bowl every decade. Too many new stadiums have been built, and the NFL awards the game to cities that have fleeced their citizens to pay for a stadium. Perhaps every two decades, if the city were lucky. Best, Don Bauder

I am not sure about cutting back on parking, that is a lot of cash changing hands, ( maybe unreported income_

Murphyjunk: If a new subsidized stadium were placed downtown, as the Chargers and John Moores desire, parking income would also be forfeited. Best, Don Bauder

From the beginning, the Chargers never needed a new stadium. They want to pull a real estate con. For that, they have hired a real estate con man with experience defrauding the City, and condemning private property at ripoff prices.

Psycholizard: Spanos wants the stadium downtown and at this point I don't see how there could be any surrounding development there. But maybe there will be a surprise.

You are right: the Chargers have hired someone experienced at defrauding the citizenry. Best, Don Bauder


Don't sell these evil geniuses short. Unbelievable, yes, but only to those of us who can't imagine such a tangled web of deceit that such sociopaths (psychopaths?) can weave. The purpose of all these "maneuverings" is to spook San Diegans into throwing good money after bad. Follow the money, especially the hidden money, e.g., all the sweet contracts that are connected with any stadium "deal."

Flapper: Actually, San Diego can be the envy of intelligent people all around the world if it says "no!" to a stadium subsidy. It would be one of the few cities to have resisted the fallacious arguments for subsidizing a billionaire's stadium. That would win admiration from many people around the globe. Best, Don Bauder

Yes - the pigs are all scheming to get to the trough.

ImJustABill: Here is a city/county with a huge infrastructure deficit, but the establishment is scheming to steer the money to a football stadium that will enrich a billionaire. Best, Don Bauder

hopefully, all this is hurting the nfl over all by pointing out ( to even the densest of fans) just how greedy the nfl and their minions are.

Murphyjunk: I certainly hope you are right. Cities do seem to be getting wiser about the folly of throwing money away to build a billionaire a stadium. Best, Don Bauder

I feel like a slowly boiling frog at this point. I was almost ready to sort of come to peace with taxpayers "ONLY" having to shell out about 400M to help pay for the new stadium.

Now it sounds like it will be more like 400M for a stadium + TBD M for a conv center expansion + TBD M for goodness knows whatever other pigs line up at the trough.

That pretty well sums up the National Fools League's philosophy, strategy, and "execution." Such "pigs" are more like slime, which reproduces asexually, since they have trouble getting it up--even in the morning.

Flapper: I wouldn't call the NFL the National Fools League. Fools? That league has conned almost every major city in the U.S. More like National Fraudpullers League. Best, Don Bauder

Revision accepted.

However, in the long run . . .

Flapper: Once a city/county/state is conned by greedy billionaire pro sports team owners, the long run becomes that time in the near future (25 years) when the cons want to pull the stunt again. Best, Don Bauder

The interval (and the noose) tightens . . .

Floating bonds for infrastructure?

Do we need truth-in-advertising legislation for our legislators?

Flapper: If politicians could be jailed for flouting truth-in-advertising rules, we would have few politicians outside of slammers. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: There is absolutely no cogent reason why San Diego taxpayers should put a nickel in the pot to subsidize a football stadium or a convention center expansion. First, the city has a multi-billion dollar infrastructure deficit. It is critical to address this.

There is a huge surplus of convention center space in the U.S., and even around the world. Prices are being cut 50 percent because there is so much vacant space. The existing convention center should be rehabbed -- the shabby interior should be fixed. That is part of the infrastructure deficit.

If the Chargers want to build a stadium with their own money, they can do so. Not a penny of taxpayer money should go into a billionaire family's subsidized football stadium. The best solution is to continue playing at Qualcomm. Some say it needs a facelift. Possibly the Chargers and San Diego could share the expense of fixing up the place, such as adding more women's restrooms. But no more than $50 million should be spent. Best, Don Bauder

You gotta admit that it's a pretty slick system that gets you pay for their fleecing facilities.

Flapper: No doubt you have noticed that owners of sports teams -- football, baseball, basketball, hockey -- follow the same playbook. They say they will build a new stadium or arena if only the city will chip in a little.

If it won't, the team will have to leave. The taxpayers wilt under a barrage of heavy advertising. The owners' "contribution" comes mainly because the receipts from naming and advertising rights are credited to the team. So those owners plunk in very little. The facility is constructed with taxpayer money; the ticket, parking, and concessions prices soar. The taxpayers have voted to price themselves out of the facility.

You bet it's slick! Best, Don Bauder

"They say they will build a new stadium or arena if only the city will chip in a little." and then there are the "cost overruns" which will fleece even more when the project is under way, and there is"cost overruns" when there is no turning back

Murphyjunk: Cost overruns are part of the scam. Best, Don Bauder

$50 million? Chicken feed! Let's take a look at the budget and see if $50 million in lined-out projects and maintenance can be retained.

Flapper: Fifty million bucks is chicken feed to rich guys like you, but to a little journalist like me, it's a lot. Best, Don Bauder

The Chargers want the Stadium land, the Sports Arena land, and will likely condemn Downtown land as well. They have announced this at various times. The City has little money on hand, but has thousands of acres of valuable real estate.

Psycholizard: But that land belongs to the taxpayers. It doesn't belong to the politicians who will give it to the team. Best, Don Bauder

I woke-up in early 2016 to the nightmare that the Chargers stayed, and we have to go through all this new fear mongering by most the news services (so called broadcast journalists) to program San Diegans into that MEME that we are so lucky to have saved the Chargers from leaving, that now we must get on-board with a new stadium deal. Don, thanks for staying on-top of this on-going fiasco of the Chargers and politicos that have the RE developers and others, in their pockets.

Darren: The Chargers aren't going to LA. They don't have the money (unless the team is sold to a multi-billionaire.) They will shell out $10 million in ad and promotional spending. The mainstream media will slant all their stories to please the team and its billionaire owners.

San Diego can do itself proud by not falling for this scam. Best, Don Bauder

True Don, the only saving dynamic (sadly) is if another great recession (or worse) rolls-up on our local economy at a rapid pace, and then we will have our city leaders saying they don't know if the budget will allow to keep fire stations open. Then the new Spanos Stadium scam will be tabled. Take care!

Darren: And don't be surprised if another recession comes. I am not predicting one yet, but the economic situation around the world is not promising right now. Best, Don Bauder

and don't forget the tried and true business plan of making "concessions" to the plan to make it acceptable.

and the so called revised plan is what they wanted all along,

sound familiar ? ( recent major real estate ploys by developers )

If the Chargers were making concessions to the taxpayers I might be OK with it. What it seems like to me is that the Chargers are making concessions to other business interests who want their share of taxpayer money. Concessions to the hotel industry, real estate development industry, tourism industry. Everyone is going to want their piece of the pie so by the time this is all said and done it will cost taxpayers $1B+

ImJustABill: You can bet if a subsidized stadium is ever built, the cost to the taxpayer will be more than $1 billion. That is why it is urgently necessary to stop this outrage. Best, Don Bauder

Murphyjunk: That's politics as usual. It's how utilities operate, for example. They ask the CPUC for an outrageous profit allowance. After some canned complaints, they skim it back and get even more than they realistically expected. In the subsidized sports scams, the original cost is underestimated. Best, Don Bauder

"Cost overruns are part of the scam. Best, Don Bauder"

First, the stadium money.

Then maintenance money.

OverCharge for beer and hot dogs.

Sweetheart and Golden Boy contracts.

Cost overruns from low bidders.

Bonds for repairs and other deferred maintenance.

And so it goes . . .

Where, oh where are those Texas women when we need them? All died young, every one.

Flapper: Those are very good points. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy 1: I don't know about a cardiac event, but upon returning from his meeting with Kroenke, he looked like a deer in the headlights. He got thoroughly rebuked. He was, of course. Some publication reported that Spanos made calls to Kroenke and Kroenke did not return them. That apparently would seem to tell the story. Best, Don Bauder

It could be just another face of the tangled web.

Flapper: The tangled web is the reason liars have to have good memories. Best, Don Bauder

Mike Murphy 2: Trying to deceive the taxpayers will be a major function of this fellow. Best, Don Bauder

I recommend the ESPN article regarding Kroenke, Spanos, and LA

Basically I think Spanos thought he could out-maneuver Kroenke politically but ultimately money wins. And Kroenke had / has more money by far than the Spanos family.

ImJustABill: That is precisely why I said all along that Carson was a phony and would go nowhere. From the beginning, this scrum was going to be won by the one with the most money to give other owners. That was Kroenke. Best, Don Bauder

Should have hired Father Joe the Hustler Priest from Fr Joe's Villages and St Vincent de Paul to be the front man for this Farce.

He is an expert Panhandler for Charitable Causes.

And with the Spanos Family, Charity begins at home. Nothing like shaking down the taxpayers to fill the family's financial coffers..

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