Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
That SD-based spring pro football league was launched by embezzler
Cuadra stole money from employer, spent most of it to start league
Jaime Cuadra pleaded guilty today (June 24) to wire fraud and filing a false income tax return in connection with his embezzlement of more than $1 million from Oceanic Enterprises and its parent, Umami Sustainable Seafood. He was chief financial officer of Oceanic. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Cuadra primarily used the money to fund a fledgling spring football league.
On March 31 of last year, Union-Tribune sports columnist Nick Canepa wrote about Cuadra's planned league. It would have eight teams in non-National Football League (NFL) markets. "We're going to play in the spring when fans are dying for football," Cuadra told Canepa. "We're going to take players who didn't quite make it to the NFL and develop them -- we're talking anywhere from 1000 to 1800 kids and giving them a living wage, $3000 to $3500 per game." Cuadra hired Jim Steeg, the former Chargers chief operating officer and former NFL executive as a consultant. Canepa called that hiring "a smart move."