San Diego

Taxpayer Advocates Take Issue With Chargers' Stadium Project

The Chargers have just picked up more organized opposition to their downtown stadium plan.

The Chargers have just picked up more organized opposition to their downtown stadium plan -- this time, from the influential San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

And the team's not pulling its punches in response.

The Chargers refused to meet with the Taxpayers Association, or share their numbers behind the stadium initiative --Prop. C on the November ballot.

So the nonprofit group says it gave the team's publicly stated "assumptions" the benefit of the doubt, and even so came to a troubling conclusion.

“We still have a shortfall of at least $400 million, not including the interest on the public bonds that would be issued to construct said facility," SDCTA president Haney Hong told NBC 7 in an interview Monday.

In other words, on a undertaking estimated at $1.8 billion dollars, that works out to a 35 percent cost overrun on the city's portion of $1.2 billion.

Haney says San Diego's general fund would be on the hook -- not private investors, as the Chargers claim -- because the city would be marketing the revenue bonds.

The nonprofit group also raised concerns about the cost projections for acquiring the East Village property needed for the project, which includes a Convention Center annex that's opposed by Comic-Con and the tourism industry.

Chargers fan groups cite the risk that San Diego could lose the team if Prop. C fails to get the two-thirds voter majority required for passage.

"What we're seeing with this report is a targeted political attack more so than anything that is really looking out for the taxpayers,” says David Agranoff, co-founder of the “Save our Bolts” organization. “Because what we have here in the Chargers plan is something that greatly benefits the taxpayers of this city."

Also in response, the Chargers' special adviser on Prop. C -- Fred Maas -- issued a caustic statement denouncing the Taxpayers' findings: "I would call this report rubbish, but it would be an insult to the hard-working refuse collectors in San Diego … they manufactured a financial report which couldn’t pass for a 3rd grade arithmetic homework assignment.”

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