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 by Elvis
2 months ago
 Total posts:   29832  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles
Administrator

https://www.latimes.com/sports/chargers ... rgers-sale

Fate of Chargers’ ownership at stake as Dean Spanos’ sister asks court to force sale

By NATHAN FENNO
APRIL 1, 2021

In an attempt to force the sale of the Chargers, a sister of controlling owner Dean Spanos filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday arguing that mounting debt has imperiled the family’s finances and the only solution is to put the NFL franchise on the market.

The petition by Dea Spanos Berberian, who serves as co-trustee of the family trust along with her brother, alleges the trust’s debts and expenses exceed $353 million. In addition, according to the filing, the trust doesn’t have a plan to pay more than $22 million it has pledged to charities.

“Every day that passes increases the risks that the charitable beneficiaries and the Spanos family legacy will suffer irreparable financial and reputational damage” the petition said.

When the Chargers moved to Los Angeles in 2017 after 56 seasons in San Diego, they faced the daunting task of paying off a $650-million relocation fee to the NFL and building a fanbase in a market crowded with college and professional sports. They now have an emerging superstar at quarterback in Justin Herbert and share the $5-billion SoFi Stadium with the Rams.

But the 156-page filing raises questions about the future of the franchise owned by the Spanos family since 1984 and reveals a family dispute that until now had played out in private.

In a November 2019 letter included with the court filing, Dean Spanos vowed to his three siblings that he would retain an investment bank at the end of the 2024 season in an effort to find a new owner. Berberian contends the situation is too dire to wait.

According to the filing, Berberian “attempted numerous times and numerous ways” to resolve the dispute. That included mediation with a retired L.A. County Superior Court judge that didn’t work.

“Dean refuses to consider a sale of the Trust’s Interest of the Chargers, insisting that the Co-Trustees continue to borrow more and more, and to force the charities and beneficiaries to wait for years and to ‘hope’ while Dean speculates further on a football team,” the petition said. “Dean has failed to present any plan to address the Trust’s bleak financial picture, because there is no other plan than the one urged by [Berberian]. Dean simply refuses to discuss it. … His plan is hope.”

Though Forbes valued the Chargers at $2.6 billion last year, the petition described the team as a “rare trophy asset” and noted that “the price a buyer is willing to pay is often not dictated by any economic metric.” The NFL recently finalized massive new media rights deals that could be worth more than $10 billion per year, something the filing asserts “will certainly attract potential buyers.”

The petition noted reports that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, worth an estimated $180 billion, is interested in becoming an NFL owner and said “the Chargers could be a perfect opportunity.”

Nearly four decades ago, the family patriarch, Alex Spanos, purchased a majority interest in the San Diego Chargers for $40 million.

His four adult children — Alexandra Spanos Ruhl, Michael Spanos, Dean Spanos and Berberian — each owns 15% of the Chargers. The family trust controls 36% of the team with the remainder owned by nonfamily members. After Alex Spanos and his wife Faye died in 2018, Dean Spanos, the oldest of the four children, and Berberian were left as the sole co-trustees.

The stake in the Chargers makes up 83% of the trust’s holdings. The petition paints a bleak picture of its finances, estimating an annual shortfall of $11 million with little cash flow or reason to believe the numbers will improve. The debt includes $164 million “associated with the Trust’s Interest in the Chargers” and at least $75 million in estate tax.

“Rather than seeking to monetize illiquid assets in order to pay debts and liabilities, and make distributions to beneficiaries, the Co-Trustees have principally been borrowing, including borrowing money from one bank to pay another,” the petition said. “Meanwhile, the trust is so heavily concentrated in owning a minority stake in a professional football team that beneficiaries have no choice but to depend almost solely on the rise or fall of the Team.”

The petition asks the court to order Berberian and Spanos to take steps to sell the trust’s share of the Chargers and invoke a provision of trust law that would require the team’s other shareholders to do the same.

Dean Spanos has controlled the team’s day-to-day management since 1994. His sons have key roles, too. John oversees the team’s football operations and A.G. heads the business side.

“Dean will likely contend that if he is only allowed to use his position as a Co-Trustee to be a speculator … to double and triple down on bad decisions of the past, he can turn things around because there are positive developments at the NFL level that should benefit the Chargers as well,” the petition said. “He also has support from other family members and beneficiaries (though not all).”

Before the Chargers moved to L.A. — the relocation led one columnist to brand Dean Spanos as the “most hated man” in San Diego — he kept a copy of his father’s autobiography in his office. A page was dog-eared for quick reference. It underscored the importance that family played in his decisions.

“A solid family foundation: This is the basis of everything,” the essential passage said. “Without family, you will be left emotionally empty, no matter how fabulous your accomplishments.”

Times staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this report.

 by HopHead Ram
2 months ago
 Total posts:   1408  
 Joined:  Jul 21 2016
United States of America   The Left Coast
Pro Bowl

This is an interesting development? Maybe a new owner comes in and decides that they no longer want to be bottom dwellers in the LA market and pull up stakes and look for greener pastures (not likely but we can dream) I just do not think there is a city out there that offers more to a team than LA currently does.

 by Elvis
2 months ago
 Total posts:   29832  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles
Administrator

#2 TV market and a world class stadium for $1? Hard to beat that deal.

If the court does force Spanos to sell, i wonder if the so called flip tax would still be in effect?

 by St. Loser Fan
2 months ago
 Total posts:   7488  
 Joined:  May 31 2016
United States of America   LA Coliseum
Hall of Fame

Elvis wrote:#2 TV market and a world class stadium for $1? Hard to beat that deal.

If the court does force Spanos to sell, i wonder if the so called flip tax would still be in effect?


“Flip tax”?

 by Elvis
2 months ago
 Total posts:   29832  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles
Administrator

St. Loser Fan wrote:“Flip tax”?


Yeah when the Chargers moved to L.A. there was protection against them selling right away and flipping the team for a profit, a flip tax. Don't know the exact details but something like 20%, not sure what the time limit is and if there are exceptions for something like this, if it happens...

 by PARAM
2 months ago
 Total posts:   7182  
 Joined:  Jul 15 2015
Barbados   Just far enough North of Philadelphia
Hall of Fame

I hope Bezos buys them and takes them back to SD. That's where they belong TBH. He has the money to build a StanKroenke-esk stadium down there.

 by St. Loser Fan
2 months ago
 Total posts:   7488  
 Joined:  May 31 2016
United States of America   LA Coliseum
Hall of Fame

Elvis wrote:Yeah when the Chargers moved to L.A. there was protection against them selling right away and flipping the team for a profit, a flip tax. Don't know the exact details but something like 20%, not sure what the time limit is and if there are exceptions for something like this, if it happens...


Waive the flip tax if they move back to San Diego.

 by Elvis
2 months ago
 Total posts:   29832  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles
Administrator

PARAM wrote:I hope Bezos buys them and takes them back to SD. That's where they belong TBH. He has the money to build a StanKroenke-esk stadium down there.


Sounds good on paper but i doubt a Bezos like character would take an L.A. team to a smaller market any more than Balmer would take the Clippers to Seattle or back to SD. These guys want into L.A. not out of it...

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46 posts Jun 22 2021