Chargers deny report of LA entrepreneur’s stake in team

By City News Service

The San Diego Chargers were busy Wednesday denying an unsubstantiated report that Los Angeles entrepreneur Phil Anschutz “has or will purchase” a 35 percent stake in the football team.

Word began to spread rapidly Tuesday night via Twitter that veteran Toronto-based sports personality Bob McCown of the Fan 590 reported that Anschutz apparently was taking the first step in moving the team to Los Angeles.

Adding credence to the rumor, Anschutz recently proposed building an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles. But Mark Fabiani, the Chargers’ special counsel, sent out a mass e-mail to reporters Tuesday night denying the report.

“There is no truth to the rumor out of Toronto that the Chargers have agreed to sell a portion of the team to Mr. Anschutz,” Fabiani wrote.

Earlier this month, the Chargers did announce that owner Alex Spanos was trying to sell a minority stake in the team as a matter of estate planning. With a 36 percent share, the 87-year-old Spanos is the team’s single-largest stakeholder. His four children each own 15 percent and two other people own a combined 4 percent, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders released a statement late in Wednesday afternoon.

“I understand through media reports that the Chargers have assured the people of San Diego that there is no truth to the rumor concerning Mr. Anschutz,” Sanders said.

“Over the years, San Diegans have shown great loyalty to their team, and the Chargers have repeatedly affirmed that this loyalty is reciprocated,” he said. “We are currently working with the Chargers to evaluate a downtown site to determine its suitability for a football stadium. This effort will continue.”

The proposed stadium location is just east of Petco Park.