San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos is in hot water over some Native American bones that workers dug up at the site of a $6 million home the multimillionaire is building across the street from his current digs along Five Mile Slough near Stockton, his hometown. According to a story in last week's Stockton Record, two laborers working on the project claim they were told to keep quiet about their discovery and rebury the bones, estimated to be about 150 years old. A local museum was eventually called into the case and had the bone site fenced off, but not before a representative of the state Native American Heritage Commission griped that concealing remains was against the law. For her part, a Spanos spokeswoman raised the possibility that the bone finding was part of a conspiracy to sidetrack a controversial decision by the Stockton City Council to rename a local street Alex Spanos Parkway ... Rack up some more fallout from "Gravegate," the scandal caused when it was discovered that the late Hotel del Coronado owner M. Larry Lawrence made up his military war record in order to get planted in Arlington National Cemetery. Congressional Republicans are pushing a bill to bar Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, and ambassadors from burial at Arlington unless they are highly decorated veterans.
Last year, On-Point Technology, a maker of equipment and systems for state lotteries, was number three on a list of highest-flying San Diego public stocks: up 240.9 percent. But now the Kearny Mesa company is facing a spate of rough air. Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore and Attorney General Mark Earley have called for an investigation into a $4.3 million ticket-vending-machine contract the state lottery department awarded On-Point earlier this year. Allegations center around whether the firm got the contract on the recommendation of a state employee who owned stock in the company and whether $11 million worth of earlier On-Point contracts had been competitively bid. An On-Point attorney denied the charges, telling the Richmond Times Dispatch: they had been "ginned up by somebody who doesn't like them." ... First Virtual, another well-hyped San Diego tech company, has also hit high seas. According to an account in this Monday's American Banker magazine, the firm "needs money and needs it fast.... The San Diego-based business has about $3 million left in the bank and is burning through it at a rate of $800,000 a month." The problem, according to the report, is that the market for the company's online-payment system has dried up, and a new product, something called an Interactive Messaging Platform, won't be available until summer. First Virtual went public in December 1996 at $9 a share; last week it was trading at 84.4 cents.
Susan's revenge, part two
San Francisco has taken itself out of the running for both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, citing San Diego's costly $30 million gop experience. Not to worry, Democrats say -- they are still entertaining a bid from San Diego, among 11 other cities. No word yet on frontrunners ... Johnny Metheny, who operates the Johnny Loves restaurants in downtown San Diego, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek, just lost a court battle against the latter city. A federal judge tossed out Metheny's claim that Walnut Creek police were harassing minority customers of his club in order to run him out of town. After the decision, Walnut Creek's city attorney proclaimed, "This lawsuit is now in the trash bin, where the rest of the untrue and obnoxious things Mr. Metheny has been saying about Walnut Creek belong." Retorted Metheny, "This isn't against Walnut Creek, just against a few of the people who run it."
Copping a verdict
A 37-year-old National City police sergeant has won a half-million dollar verdict against a couple after he slipped and fell on a "wet and slimy" carpet outside an apartment after answering a domestic violence call on a rainy day. Steven J. Murray argued he was forced to retire on permanent disability after the accident. Defendants maintained that Murray's claimed injuries weren't real and he should have gone back to work within one or two months after the fall.
Contributor: Matt Potter