If San Diego loses the Chargers to Los Angeles, the blame may be placed squarely on California's pay-for-play politicians, particularly Democrats.
So seems to be the suggestion of a U-T San Diego exposé regarding the efforts of Missouri billionaire Stan Kroenke to build a new football stadium in L.A.
"To understand how the well-connected can reap results from California’s especially fertile soil for political influence and special favors, consider the latest effort to attract an NFL team to Los Angeles," says the February 8 story regarding the stadium-building partnership between Kroenke and Terrence Fancher's Stockbridge Capital Group.
"Based in San Francisco, Stockbridge is a relatively young investment group that controls billions of dollars in public pension funds, has spent millions on political campaigns, and received unusual help from state lawmakers and regulators," the piece says.
"At first glance, Fancher would seem to bring baggage along with assets to the partnership," the paper notes, adding, "From a standing start in 2003, Fancher has assembled a $9 billion real estate portfolio, built mostly with funding from public pension systems in California, New York and Texas."
In constructing his public-pension-funded financial empire, the U-T reports, Fancher was assisted by Darius Anderson, "a prominent lobbyist and fundraiser for Democratic politicians, who also controlled firms acting as 'placement agents' to connect investment managers to pension funds….
"According to published reports, Stockbridge spent at least $2.7 million in placement fees with Anderson’s firms," the account says. "In 2010, without admitting or denying anything, Anderson paid $500,000 to settle an investigation by New York’s attorney general….
"The attorney general said Anderson didn’t have a proper license, and split fees with another placement agent that funneled money to an aide to New York’s comptroller who was accused of bribery, money laundering and other crimes."
The piece goes on to chronicle a string of Stockbridge legislative and regulatory activities it says were linked to campaign contributions, including $33,000 to indicted Democratic ex–state senator Leland Yee.
"With Kroenke moving to complete the L.A. stadium by 2018, I’m guessing Chargers fans will know in a year or two where they will be driving to see games,” the story adds.
Not mentioned in the story is Anderson's link to San Diego's Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, who picked Anderson's Platinum Advisors to be the city's Sacramento lobbyist this past September.
The two-year deal, approved by a unanimous city council vote, will set taxpayers back $312,000.
Platinum was selected by the mayor to replace Sloat, Higgins, Jensen & Associates, whose principal Kevin Sloat — onetime aide to ex–San Diego mayor and former California governor Pete Wilson — had agreed to pay a record $133,500 fine to the state's Fair Political Practices Commission for giving a slew of illegal gifts to California lawmakers.
Based on public records, the timing of the transition to the new lobbyist is unclear.
Disclosure filings with the California secretary of state's office show that Sloat continued to be compensated by the City of San Diego during the final quarter of last year, receiving $14,000, for a total of $199,161 during the two-year legislative term ending in 2014; Sloat did no lobbying for the city during the final reporting period, according to the document.
The city has yet to file a lobbying registration for 2015, and neither Sloat nor Platinum currently lists San Diego as a client, according to the most recent online disclosure reports.
On January 8, former Sloat staffer Moira Topp's firm Topp Strategies filed a report listing itself as a subcontractor to Platinum to lobby the legislature and governor’s office on behalf of the City of San Diego regarding "issues affecting local government."
Reached by phone in Sacramento, a representative of Anderson's Platinum confirmed that the firm is currently representing the city.
Developer Douglas Manchester's U-T took a dim view of then-mayor Bob Filner's firing of Sloat and Washington DC lobbyist Patton Boggs in January 2013.
"The abrupt dismissals leave the city without an important voice in both capitals right when the first round of budgets and legislative priorities are being crafted," a January 25, 2013, news story said.
Disclosures showed the Washington lobbyist had represented the city regarding the so-called Navy Broadway complex, a development proposed by Manchester to be built on federal property at the foot of Broadway.
Filner's fellow Democrat Todd Gloria, then city council president and interim mayor, arranged to re-hire both lobbyists in September 2013 after Filner's fall in a sexual harassment scandal.