SDSU’s newest rainmaker

The school is looking for a big-dollar fundraising powerhouse

Jack McGrory has helped put up thousands of dollars for ads in the U-T badmouthing the SoccerCity proposal.
  • Jack McGrory has helped put up thousands of dollars for ads in the U-T badmouthing the SoccerCity proposal.

As San Diego State University and a group of loyal alumni continue to wage war against SoccerCity, the proposal by some wealthy La Jolla hedge-fund managers to convince city voters to give them control of the site currently occupied by Qualcomm Stadium, the school is looking for a big-dollar fundraising powerhouse for its sports operations.

“The Assistant Athletic Director – Major Gifts will oversee the process of identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of major gift prospects for identified priorities for the Athletic Department,” says a university help-wanted advertisement posted online. “This position will act on behalf of the Aztec Club in accordance with the department, university, conference and the NCAA regulations.”

No salary is given. Mandy McKinley-Huiras, listed as Senior Associate Athletic Director, Development, on the Aztec Club website, received $160,832.55 in total state pay and benefits during 2016, per Transparent California. Morgan McSweeney, assistant athletic director for development, got $88,471.62.

SDSU’s plan, insiders relate, is to come up with sufficient money to cover a new megamillion-dollar football stadium to replace Qualcomm, with enough left over to seed related expansion of the university on adjacent land, thereby convincing voters to reject SoccerCity. With the measure set to appear on the municipal ballot in November of next year, SDSU boosters, led by ex–city manager Jack McGrory, have so far spent $26,459 badmouthing the soccer proposal in a Union-Tribune advertisement. An outfit calling itself the SDSU Past Presidents Council, led by Fred Pierce, who once ran development at the San Diego State University Research Foundation, has laid out $5533, according to an August 16 lobbying disclosure report.

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Jack McGrory, ur-insider and player at SDSU, is a formidable foe for Soccer City folks to contend with. McGrory managed to get SDSU to renege on its initial support for Soccer City's proposed Mission Valley development and re-design that would bring us major league soccer in a new small stadium, along with a river park, new housing and commercial space. And all at no expense to taxpayers, unlike any other San Diego sports stadium.

SDSU has apparently joined other self-dealing developers like Doug Manchester and Whatsis Fenton. McGrory managed to "persuade" a majority of City Council to prevent a qualified public referendum on Soccer City from happening this fall -- when a likely favorable decision by voters would signal to Major League Soccer that San Diego is the perfect venue for an expansion team of this up-and-coming much-loved sport.

So the vote on Soccer City has been postponed to 2018, giving new opponents like SDSU and old ones like McGrory and others time to wheel and deal their alternatives. Doubtless nay-saying councilmembers will be rewarded for their helpful Soccer City stonewalling with campaign cash from McGrory and his friends.

"the vote on Soccer City has been postponed to 2018" soo, it was no a now or never deal that they were trying to foist on the tax payers?

Anyone who is fighting the outrageous SoccerCity scam and land grab can't be all bad. SoccerCity is probably the worst development plan San Diego has ever seen.

Originally, Soccer City didn't want a vote of the people. They were hoping to get their signed petitions to the city council and have them approve it outright. Fortunately, there was enough early opposition for Soccer City to change it's tune and decide they wanted a vote of the people.

And yes--San Diego is the perfect location for an MLS franchise. But you don't need a proposal such as the one offered by Soccer City to get it, while also screwing SDSU in the process.

"Screwing SDSU in the process?" Really? Soccer City folks wanted to include SDSU in their plans and make it a place for SDSU football Aztecs, but SDSU Campanile Foundation advisor McGrory whispered in the ear of longtime apparatchik and new SDSU President Sally Roush. Lo, SDSU backed out of its tentative agreement with Soccer City. Now SDSU apparently brazenly seeks to take over the entire Qualcomm site for its own purposes. Who gets screwed is the San Diego public.

Their plans included a too-small stadium for SDSU, and selling SDSU acreage in the future at an inflated price, which would have cost taxpayers millions. Not to mention the fact that SDSU would have to obtain another EIR to expand the too-small stadium proposed by FSI. SDSU never wanted the entire site originally--They only wanted about 45 acres, and a stadium that would suit their needs, which would have been a 40,000 seat stadium, which they were willing to help pay for. FSI wasn't willing to bend, so SDSU did the right thing by backing out of the deal.

SoccerCity was a con game from the beginning. Luckily their hucksterism was exposed in time to motivate the City Council to make the right decision.

If Jack McGrory is for it I am against it. If you want to know if a proposal is good or bad just look at who supports it. (or is that whom?)

McGrory is the former SD City Manager who brought us the pension crisis and the Chargers ticket guarantee among other financial fiascos for us as San Diego residents. The only one who ever does well on deals he works on is Jack McGrory himself.

One by-product of all this controversy and competing plans may be that the current stadium lives on. For some reason that I can't identify, it seems as if almost all the power players in the county have assumed it had to come down. Howcum? The city claims it is losing money on it every year and has no prospect for putting it in the black. Guess what folks? It was losing money when it had the Chargers because the team effectively paid no rent. SDSU has games to play, and has to play them somewhere. Then there's the Holiday Bowl (can you really believe they will play it in a baseball park, specifically Petco?) that should have a decent venue.

McGrory, if not a crook, is very close to one. He's pulled off many schemes of dubious morality, and usually they were very edgy legally. I agree with Alex; if McGrory is for something, I"m against it. That's all the justification needed.

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