John Moores’s divorcing wife wanted the gifts he allegedly gave to gynecologist Dianne Rosenberg made public.
Ex-Padres owner John Moores, who’s been enjoying a popular revival of sorts with his six-figure financial backing of an initiative campaign to boost hotel taxes and attempts to bring a professional soccer team to town, is also making waves in the British press. In addition to his political and financial forays in San Diego, the software mogul from Houston now based in Rancho Santa Fe has been negotiating to take over the Everton Football Club of England’s Premier soccer league, and the team for which USA World Cup hero Tim Howard keeps goal. But the prospect of the wealthy American owning one of the country’s oldest soccer enterprises, founded in 1878, has drawn scrutiny from some, including the Daily Post. “Chequered could be one word to describe the era when John Jay Moores was the owner of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres franchise,” the paper pronounced in its Christmas-day coverage of the Moores move. “And, in the end, it all concluded in a rather unhappy divorce — literally.”
The piece went on to chronicle Moores’s lengthy fight with first wife Becky over the spoils of their 40-year marriage. “As a San Diegan, and longtime Padres fan, I dread the consequences that could flow from a bitter, prolonged battle over the ownership and ultimate management of the franchise,” San Diego lawyer and season-ticket holder Judi Foley was quoted as saying at the time. Added the paper, “The 1998 National League pennant was now a distant memory while the Moores’ ugly divorce had cast a dark cloud over the usually sunny Southern Californian weather.”
Though the paper didn’t mention it, Becky had demanded that John produce records of the gifts he had given to gynecologist Dianne Rosenberg, “a woman he [John] had an affair with during the marriage,” whom he would eventually wed in a ceremony attended by ex-president Jimmy Carter. There was also the matter of John’s prior relationship with divorced Democratic city councilwoman Valerie Stallings, who quit the council in January 2001 rather than face criminal charges that she had voted on Padres stadium issues while taking an array of gratuities and gifts from Moores. The final split with Becky, arrived at in 2010, eventually resulted in the $800 million 2012 sale of the baseball team by Moores to the current ownership group led by beer-distribution magnate Ron Fowler. Since then the team has not fared well on the field, and the city’s general fund has been required to ante up $11 million a year in stadium debt service.
But some Brits are hoping that Moores’s stadium-building public money history can be rekindled for Everton. “As revealed at last month’s General Meeting, Everton still want to move to Walton Hall Park and hope to utilise potential regeneration funds to breathe new life into North Liverpool as part of the scheme, in partnership with Liverpool council,” reported the Daily Post. “It is, however, far from straight forward — and it seems Moores has already made a similarly challenging and complex project happen. In fact, he was among the first to try it.” Meanwhile ex-wife Becky has been on her own spending binge, giving $1 million to PsychArmor, a nonprofit foundation for mentally traumatized veterans. The charity has also given $500,000 to the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park and $100,000 to the La Jolla Playhouse. Becky also laid out $55.5 million in December of 2014 for a full-floor residential unit in Manhattan overlooking Central Park.