San Diego's long-running stadium wars have been very, very good for Dan Barrett.
It was way back in 2002 that the city's first Chargers task force hired Barrett and his firm, Barrett Sports Group of Manhattan Beach, to advise it on how to keep the team in town.
The move engendered controversy over an alleged conflict of interest between Barrett's work in San Diego and for Pasadena's Rose Bowl.
"The work for the Rose Bowl has been focused on UCLA's lease extension and stadium operating issues," Barrett was quoted by the San Diego Union-Tribune as saying in a September 25, 2002, piece.
"I am not working on any effort to attract an NFL franchise to Los Angeles."
In January 2003, the controversy continued when Barrett, then-mayor Dick Murphy, and a host of city staffers got to purchase Super Bowl tickets at the face value of $500 each while the public was paying between $1400 to $7500.
Barrett arranged to purchase his tickets through then–deputy city manager Bruce Herring, according to a January 21, 2003, Union-Tribune account.
"The Chargers did not put me on a list, so I don't believe there's a conflict whatsoever," Barrett told the paper.
"It clearly is designed to make the public officials feel better about the NFL and the new stadium, and that's the reason they're doing it," ethicist Bob Stern was quoted as saying about the low-price Super Bowl ticket distribution.
By March 11, 2004, Barrett was still on a roll, securing a total of $325,000 from the city to assist in its lengthy negotiations with the Chargers over Qualcomm lease revisions, the U-T reported.
Less than a year later, on February 7, 2005, Barrett was back again, this time as part of a proposed $250,000 consulting arrangement to negotiate with the team for a new stadium, according to a U-T story of the day.
With a city pension-fund debt looming, the consulting deal was rejected by the San Diego City Council. "The timing on this is terrible," then–city councilwoman Toni Atkins observed.
But Barrett was far from out of the game.
In April 2007, the U-T reported that the County of San Diego had quietly commissioned Barrett and the law firm of Nixon, Peabody to help the Chargers in the team's ultimately failed countywide stadium-site hunt.
Barrett's firm got $29,940 of taxpayer money between October 2006 and February 2007, said the April 22, 2007, story; Nixon, Peabody took in $79,847.
According to the U-T’s account, 35 billing entries by Barrett and a staffer bore a one-word description: "analysis." Then–county counsel John Sansone redacted the rest of the entries, refusing to provide any more details.
"If we reveal what they said, they won't be as willing to give the expertise we need in the future," asserted Sansone, who claimed the material was privileged and not subject to the state's public records act.
Now Barrett is back again under similar low-profile cover.
Following a request made under the California public records act, the county last week released an April 23 engagement letter between Barrett Sports Group, LLC, and the city and county "retaining an independent/objective consultant with sports industry experience in order to make informed decisions regarding the potential development of a new stadium for the NFL San Diego Chargers."
According to the document, Barrett Sports "will make commercially reasonable efforts to provide initial validation/feedback by May 8, 2015, and will provide a presentation style report by mid to late June 2015. We will communicate any significant issues or observations throughout the course of our engagement."
The letter continues, "We will complete the scope of services above for $50,000, plus reimbursement for all direct expenses incurred including travel and subsistence of our staff, word processing, copies, postage, telephone, publications, subcontractors (if any), econometric models and facsimile transmission."
The consultant has been assigned to "identify key stakeholders" and "establish communication guidelines," among other tasks, as well as to "review and comment on the financial analysis” prepared by Citibank, another consultant hired by the city and county.
The document was signed and dated May 1 by chief deputy county counsel David J. Smith.
A second letter of agreement between Barrett and the county and city, signed and dated by Smith on June 11, lists the objective of providing "a baseline stadium operating and financial profile for the Chargers, including detailed stadium operating revenues and expenses, based on current conditions at Qualcomm Stadium."
That tab is set at an additional $25,000.
San Diego isn't Barrett's only current venue for would-be stadium deal-making.
According to the website of the Saint Louis Stadium Task Force, a group trying to keep the Rams from moving to a new stadium proposed for Inglewood by team owner Stan Kroenke, the California sports consultant is also working for them.
Barrett is providing "a comprehensive review and evaluation of NFL stadium deal structures and leases, and will assist in developing cash flow models for the new stadium and the team," the Saint Louis site says.
Meanwhile back in San Diego, yet another heretofore unmentioned contractor has been hired by the county.
Xpera Group's Alan Nevin has been retained "to provide analysis to the County of San Diego Office of County Counsel on the valuation of development at the Qualcomm Site."
"You are hereby authorized to incur and invoice the County for an additional $10,000 in fees," says a June 11 letter to Xpera from chief deputy county counsel Smith.
"This is in addition to the currently authorized $25,000."