Stockton born-and-bred Dean Spanos will likely spend well north of $10 million to get his $1.8 billion taxpayer-subsidized Chargers stadium and meeting complex on the ballot in November, ordinarily making him the prohibitive favorite to prevail in November.
But a newly filed campaign finance report by the GOP Lincoln Club shows San Diego's Republican business establishment, opposed to the pro-sports edifice, may be prepared to ultimately match or exceed the NFL owner in the city’s historic big-money campaign challenge.
The club has been piling up political money at a record-setting pace, according to the May 26 statement, racking up contributions of almost $193,915 in just four weeks, from April 24 through May 21, in the process demonstrating the group's prodigious fundraising clout.
East County's Sycuan casino–owning tribe gave $30,000; Mission Valley developer Tom Sudberry came up with $10,000; and giant retailer Walmart of Bentonville, Arkansas, contributed $5000,
Giving $50,000 was L.A.'s Michael Schlesinger, would-be developer of the old Escondido Country Club into condos, who got into hot water with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission in 2014 for obscuring the source of his campaign cash to the Lincoln Club.
In addition, the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce political action committee slipped $35,000 to the club.
Rancho Guejito Corporation, owner of sprawling North County acreage it has sought to develop, gave $5000, bringing its total for the year so far to $10,000, and some believe its super-rich New York–based owner may be good for a million dollars or more, depending on how fierce the Chargers contest gets.
San Diego County sheriff Bill Gore gave $500 from his campaign fund; GOP district attorney Bonnie Dumanis gave the same.
Predator killer-drone-maker General Atomics, run by the wealthy Republican Blue brothers, Linden and Neal, contributed $2500.
Another Lincoln Club stalwart was CAC Advisory Services, owned by charter-schools proponent Rod Dammeyer, with $20,000.
Dammeyer was a member of GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer's ill-fated Chargers stadium task force, which came under withering fire from the team's Mark Fabiani last year for its cozy relationship with Faulconer advisor and lobbyist Jason Roe, then employed by stadium-food giant Delaware North.
"Putting the legal and ethical issues aside for a moment, what sense does it make to have someone who is your chief advisor on political matters, and who advises a potential stadium vendor on business matters, play any sort of role with the 'independent' Task Force?" Fabiani wrote the mayor in a February 17, 2015, letter.
"Have you asked the City Attorney for an opinion on the propriety of Mr. Roe's intensive involvement with the Task Force's work? If you have not yet asked for such an opinion from the City Attorney, do you intend to do so?"
The Chargers subsequently spurned the task force's choice of Mission Valley for the site of a new stadium, which could set the stage for multiple rounds of big-money score-settling, insiders note.
The latest four-week disclosure shows that the Lincoln Club poured $105,000 into the cause of La Jolla city-council candidate Ray Ellis, who has made his opposition to the downtown Chargers measure a pillar of his campaign.
$100,000 went to an Ellis-backing independent expenditure committee called Neighborhoods, Not Stadiums.