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The fate of San Diego Sports Arena

Hockey players

Two influence-peddlers pushing the puck for San Diego Gulls owner H&S Ventures: Ben Haddad and Craig Benedetto
Two influence-peddlers pushing the puck for San Diego Gulls owner H&S Ventures: Ben Haddad and Craig Benedetto

Besides disposition of the stadium formerly known as Qualcomm, the fate of the San Diego Sports Arena, now called the Valley View Casino Center, hangs in the balance.

As usual in the political netherworld of city hall, major money action is happening behind the scenes, with two familiar influence-peddlers pushing the puck for San Diego Gulls owner H&S Ventures, LLC. Ben Haddad and Craig Benedetto — enmeshed in an investigation by state attorney general Xavier Becerra in connection with councilman Chris Cate’s SoccerCity memo leak — have been busy talking to the mayor’s chief of staff, Aimee Faucett, and planning director Jeff Murphy.

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Per an October 31 disclosure filing by their lobbying shop California Strategies, Haddad and Benedetto are seeking either “improvement” of the city-owned arena or “entitlement of a facility in the San Diego region to host the San Diego Gulls, an American Hockey League team.” H&S, run by Gulls owner Henry Samueli, the Orange County billionaire who owns the Anaheim Ducks, paid California Strategies $5000 for their efforts during this year’s third quarter.

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Two influence-peddlers pushing the puck for San Diego Gulls owner H&S Ventures: Ben Haddad and Craig Benedetto
Two influence-peddlers pushing the puck for San Diego Gulls owner H&S Ventures: Ben Haddad and Craig Benedetto

Besides disposition of the stadium formerly known as Qualcomm, the fate of the San Diego Sports Arena, now called the Valley View Casino Center, hangs in the balance.

As usual in the political netherworld of city hall, major money action is happening behind the scenes, with two familiar influence-peddlers pushing the puck for San Diego Gulls owner H&S Ventures, LLC. Ben Haddad and Craig Benedetto — enmeshed in an investigation by state attorney general Xavier Becerra in connection with councilman Chris Cate’s SoccerCity memo leak — have been busy talking to the mayor’s chief of staff, Aimee Faucett, and planning director Jeff Murphy.

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Per an October 31 disclosure filing by their lobbying shop California Strategies, Haddad and Benedetto are seeking either “improvement” of the city-owned arena or “entitlement of a facility in the San Diego region to host the San Diego Gulls, an American Hockey League team.” H&S, run by Gulls owner Henry Samueli, the Orange County billionaire who owns the Anaheim Ducks, paid California Strategies $5000 for their efforts during this year’s third quarter.

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