San Diego

Chargers' Exit Strategy Claims Don't Pass Critics' Fact Checks

Whether or not the Chargers wind up moving north for the 2016 NFL season, the front office seems to have poisoned the well of public opinion here.

During an in-house video interview recorded for the team’s website yesterday, Chargers chairman Dean Spanos claimed the Bolts have spent 14 years "working very hard" on nine stadium proposals the city has rejected -- and as a last resort targeted the Los Angeles “market”, home to 25 percent of their fan base.

"When the Rams decided to make their move there, this was a decision to protect our business,” Spanos said. “And we so find ourselves where we do right now."

Those remarks prompted disbelief from folks who pride themselves on fact-checking.

Each of the nine local stadium-site explorations – which really didn’t begin until 2003 – was dismissed as less than definitive.

Meantime, the Chargers were scheming on the Carson site long before the Rams went public with their Inglewood plans.

Critics insist they never gave a second thought to the city's proposal to build a new facility on the current Qualcomm Stadium site.

The team has reaped $36 million in rent credits over seven seasons at “The Q” because of the infamous "ticket guarantee”.

Since then it's wound up paying no rent, essentially, when the city by now should be getting upwards of $10 million a year under a controversial lease that has annual escape clauses.

"What you see is that every time a city official in San Diego has embraced the strategy of appeasement,” says former city attorney Mike Aguirre, “they've ended up not only hurting the city, but destroying their political career -- a la Susan Golding."

Aguirre’s reference was to the U.S. senatorial ambitions of a former mayor who had signed off on the Chargers’ guarantee of revenue for unsold seats -- only to see it become a focal point of taxpayer outrage.

In an email Tuesday to NBC 7, Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said the team has stopped responding to its critics.

He characterized them as "consistently wrong", adding that "they should have no credibility with anyone at this point."

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