San Diego leaders call BS on Chargers' relocation application
SAN DIEGO — The lead negotiator for the city and county's efforts to keep the San Diego Chargers in town has tried unsuccessfully to obtain a copy of the team's application to relocate to Los Angeles and officials are concerned it might contain inaccuracies.
Attorney Chris Melvin requested the document from the Chargers and the NFL, and nothing has been provided, Craig Gustafson, a spokesman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer, said Friday.
On Monday night, the Chargers released a video in which chairman Dean Spanos contended the team made nine proposals for a new stadium that the city rejected. Many of those proposals were with other cities in San Diego County and didn't include financing plans from the team.
"After seeing the many inaccuracies in Mr. Spanos' recent video, we are concerned there may be similar inaccuracies about San Diego in their relocation application," Gustafson said in an email to The Associated Press. "We would like the opportunity to correct the record, but we can't do that if they refuse to make their application public."
Late Friday, various media outlets reported they had obtained an "executive summary" of the Chargers' relocation application, which could have only come from the team.
"This application is full of inaccuracies and we've only seen the first four pages," Matt Awbrey, another mayoral spokesman, said in an email. "Dean Spanos can't rewrite history as he tries to walk out the door. As has been widely reported, the Chargers have never produced a viable stadium plan, let alone nine. The only real plan produced in the last 14 years is the one proposed by the City, and the Chargers refused to negotiate on it. Any reasonable person can see that the Chargers have not met the requirements for relocation."
On Friday, Melvin emailed Eric Grubman, the NFL's point man on Los Angeles, to say that he had heard nothing back on his request to Mark Fabiani, who represents Spanos. Melvin asked Grubman if the league could request the team forward its application to the city and county.
Grubman replied: "We suggested to all three teams that they consider whether they wished to release, and that we would not release on their behalf unless directed to do so. Each team has determined their course of action. The most I could do is to relay another request that came from you."
Fabiani, a former deputy mayor of Los Angeles, didn't respond to multiple requests from The Associated Press for a copy of the application.
On Wednesday, Grubman told the AP that the only information the clubs were required to make public were the notices posted on their websites, and that it was up to the teams to release other information.
On Monday, the Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams filed for relocation to the Los Angeles area, trying not to be left out in the race to return the NFL to the nation's second-largest market after a 21-year absence.
The Chargers want to partner with the AFC West rival Raiders on a stadium in the industrial suburb of Carson. Spanos has had the right to leave San Diego since 2008, but the team's long, contentious efforts to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium became more aggressive after Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced plans to build a stadium in Inglewood.
NFL owners are expected to vote on relocation at a meeting in Houston next week.
The Rams released their application, which contained a withering list of reasons they want to leave for the Los Angeles area. The Rams called their hometown market economically stagnant and said plans for a billion-dollar stadium were a recipe for financial disaster.
That brought immediate condemnation from officials and fans alike.
Both Mayor Francis Slay and the St. Louis NFL Stadium Task Force sent responses to the NFL, citing what they call inaccuracies in the Rams' application. The stadium task force said it was not prepared "for the cruel attack and false claims made by our local team owner, to his League peers, in an attempt to punish and embarrass St. Louis — a city whose residents and businesses have loyally supported the Rams for more than two decades."
The Chargers' stadium saga turned nasty in the last year as Fabiani attacked Faulconer and his proposals to keep the team in San Diego. The Chargers walked away from negotiations in June and have focused their efforts on Carson.
"Now that we know the disparaging sentiments Uncle Stan had for STL, one can only wonder what Deano had to say about SD," Jason Cabel Roe, a political consultant to Faulconer, said in an email to the AP.