While others have been complaining with the frequency that the Special Counsel to San Diego Chargers President has been on the local radio airwaves, I welcome having Mark Fabiani talk in public as much as possible. Mostly because I've been waiting for him to make a misstep. Over the last few days, I believe he finally did.
Let's go back to the weekend. Sam Farmer publishes an article on the L.A. Times with the following line...
The Rose Bowl bowed out of the interim stadium derby, but the Coliseum is still in play. The NFL shouldn't have much trouble striking a deal there, as the Chargers quietly got far down the road in negotiations with that venue last year.
Pretty interesting, huh? Well, Darren Smith thought so too, and he asked Mark Fabiani about it yesterday. Here was Mark's response (emphasis is mine):
Darren: I hadn't heard that before Sam printed it, that the Chargers were talking with the L.A. Coliseum. Is that true?
Mark: Yes, absolutely. And we talked about that before. I don't know why it's all of a sudden gotten a lot of attention now, but it's absolutely true.
I'll give you a brief history, which I'm sure you remember and many of your listeners do as well. Stan Kroenke bought a parcel of land in Inglewood in January of 2014, and that raised the question of whether Mr. Kroenke would be moving in 2015 to Los Angeles. So, while we continue to work here in San Diego, I think we were very forthright that we were going to explore our options.
We said that, starting last summer, we began to speak with Starwood, which is the owner of the Carson land which we also must purchase. We've said that publicly. And, at around that time, our view was....if we do have to move, we're going to need a place to play. And also, not incidentally, it would be great to edge out Stan Kroenke and make sure that he doesn't have a place to play.
So, at that point, we did approach the Coliseum, and that means USC because USC now controls the Coliseum, and engaged in discussions. They didn't conclude in an agreement. Ultimately, it became clear that nobody was going to be relocating to Los Angeles in 2015. So, as you know, we stopped our efforts in Carson in December. We stopped our discussions with the Coliseum in December.
Things only revved back up in January, when unexpectedly, Mr. Kroenke and the Rams announced their initiative campaign in Inglewood. And that's when we revved back up our discussions with Starwood. We started talking extensively with the City in Carson, we started talking to the Raiders, and by February 20th we got that deal put together.
Now, the Coliseum is negotiating with the league, not with teams. The league has taken over that process.
Darren: Just for the purposes of making sure that the timeline is correct. The Chargers talked with the Coliseum about being a temporary place to play only after Stan Kroenke moved on Inglewood?
Mark: Oh, absolutely. When you say "moved on Inglewood", I hope you're referring to, because I was referring to, the January 2014 purchase of the so-called "Wal Mart site". That's when that purchase was revealed.
Then, after that, there was a lot of talk about him building a stadium there. As that talked geared up in the Spring and the early Summer, as we've said before...we thought that we had to start to protect our other options. So, we started to talk to Starwood, we started to talk to the Coliseum, and started working on that and then stopped working on it in December when it became clear that no team would be relocating in 2015.
And, as I sit here today, if Stan Kroenke hadn't started his initiative campaign in Inglewood, and hadn't tried to get that site entitled, we probably wouldn't have pursued the Carson site, and we would be in a very different environment. But Mr. Kroenke forced everyone's hand.
Okay, so we have the timeline...
January 2014: Stan Kroenke buys Inglewood site
Spring 2014: Chargers start pursuring Carson site, and talk with the L.A. Coliseum about a temporary place to play
December 2014: Chargers stop pursuing Carson site, and stop talking to Coliseum
January 2015: Stan Kroenke announces plans to build NFL stadium on Inglewood site
February 2015: Chargers and Raiders announce plans to build NFL stadium on Carson site
Got it. So when Mark Fabiani says, as he loves to, "Stan Kroenke changed everything," he's talking about the land purchase in January 2014 and not the stadium announcement in January 2015. That's why it seems perfectly reasonable for the Chargers to have starting planning out their move to Los Angeles in 2014.
The below is an except from Fabiani's appearance on the Dan Sileo Show this morning:
Dan: I want to read something to you that Scott Sherman just texted me. He made a comment that, after the Mayor was elected, he and you and the Mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer met, and you said, "Hey, take your time. We could do this in 2016." Do you have a recollection of that meeting?
Mark: Absolutely! And, that meeting was in the Spring of 2014, when Stan Kroenke had not made his move in Inglewood. We had no expectation that Mr. Kroenke would, in January of 2015, launch and initiative campaign and entitle his stadium in a matter of a couple of months in Inglewood. No one foresaw that in the Spring of 2014.
Dan, we've talked about this before. The world changed for the Chargers in January of 2015. It changed because of what the Rams did in Inglewood, and we were forced to respond, and we responded very quickly and very effectively. We now have a fully entitled stadium site in Carson. We have another option in the event that things don't work out in San Diego.
So, things changed in January of 2015. They didn't change for the city, unfortunately. The city, instead of getting down to work with us in January of 2015, when all of this happened in Inglewood, the city appointed a task force.
We made it clear at that time, on this show, that was a bad decision. It was going to be a waste of five or six months, it was going to make it impossible to comply with CEQA in time, and that's all come to task.
Woah, woah, woah...
On Wednesday, Fabiani says Kroenke changed everything by purchasing land in Inglewood in January of 2014, forcing the team to pursue their own Los Angeles options in the Spring of 2014.
On Thursday, Fabiani says Kroenke changed everything with his ballot initiative in January of 2015, and that nobody foresaw Kroenke building a stadium in Inglewood in the Spring of 2014. He actually said those words!
Mark Fabiani says he was honest in a meeting with Scott Sherman and Kevin Faulconer in the Spring of 2014, when he told them to take their time and aim for 2016. He says it's because they were not worried about Stan Kroenke in the Spring of 2014. Meanwhile, just the day before, he said that the Chargers were so worried about Stan Kroenke in the Spring of 2014 that they were already negotiating with Carson and USC about playing in Los Angeles.
I don't think it can be both ways, Mr. Fabiani.
And now it makes sense why the Mayor felt he had the time to field a task force in January. It's because Mark Fabiani, and the Chargers, blatantly lied to him.