Alexander Gus Spanos|
September 28, 1923
Stockton, California, US
|Education||University of the Pacific|
Majority shareholder, Los Angeles Chargers|
Founder, A. G. Spanos Companies
(m. 1948; her death 2018)
|Children||4, including Dean Spanos|
Alexander Gus Spanos (born September 28, 1923) is an American billionaire real estate developer, founder of the A. G. Spanos Companies, and the majority owner of the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL).
Early life and education
Spanos was born in Stockton, California to a Greek family, the son of Greek immigrants, Constantino and Evanthia Spanos. His father owned a bakery where the young Spanos started working at the age of eight. In 1942 he dropped out of college at the California Polytechnic School and joined the Army Air Force training as a pilot but left the program and instead served as a tail gunner during World War II. Spanos earned varsity letters in swimming and diving at the University of the Pacific in Stockton and later distinguished himself as an amateur golfer.
In 1951 he borrowed $800 from a local banker to buy a truck which he then used to sell sandwiches to migrant farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley. By 1955 he had made his first million dollars. He invested his earnings in real estate and at the suggestion of his tax accountants, started to build apartments. In 1960, he founded A.G. Spanos Companies, which by 1977 had become the largest apartment builder in the United States. The corporation is based in Stockton and has 10 subsidiaries.
In 1984, Spanos bought 60% of the San Diego Chargers (now Los Angeles Chargers) from majority owner Eugene Klein for $48.3 million. Over the next 10 years, he bought out the shares of several small co-owners, bringing his control of the team to 97%. The remaining 3% was held by San Diego restaurateur George Pernicano, an investor in the team since a few years after its inception, until Pernicano's death in October 2016. Since 1993, Spanos' son Dean has handled the daily operations of the franchise. According to Forbes, as of 2015 the San Diego Chargers are worth $995 million.
Philanthropy and political contributions
Spanos donated $500,000 to renovate the Fox Theatre in downtown Stockton, and with the approval of the City of Stockton, renamed the facility the Fox California Bob Hope Theatre. The Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton, the Alex G. Spanos Stadium for Lincoln High School in Stockton, the Alex G. Spanos Sports and Recreation Complex in Sacramento, the Alex G. Spanos Training Center at UCSD and the Alex G. Spanos Stadium at Cal Poly are named after him.
Spanos was one of the largest contributors to George W. Bush's re-election campaign in 2004. By contributing $5 million to 527 groups that supported the Bush campaign in 2004, Spanos ranked among the top five GOP donors. President Bush appointed Spanos to the Kennedy Center board in 2004. Spanos was inducted into the California Building Industry Hall of Fame in 2005. Spanos also received the AHEPA Award, an award that recognizes members of the community for their contributions and achievements in their chosen field of endeavor.
In 1948, Spanos married Faye Papafaklis. They have four adult children: Dean Spanos, the Chargers' team president; Michael Spanos, the Chargers' executive vice president; Alexis Spanos Ruhl, a vice president of A.G. Spanos Companies; and Dea Spanos Berberian, a vice president of A.G. Spanos Companies. Faye Spanos died on August 7, 2018, aged 92.
Spanos resides in Stockton, California. He owns property in Las Vegas, Nevada. Spanos had a seven-way heart bypass in 2000, and has had surgery and undergone chemotherapy for colon cancer. After his heart bypass at Sacramento Mercy General Hospital, Spanos donated $10 million to the hospital to sponsor the construction of its new state-of-the-art heart center.
He has written a book called Sharing the Wealth: My Story which details his rise from a moneyless man of 27 years to become a billionaire. Spanos was the first person ever to be on the winning teams in both the Bob Hope Desert Classic in Palm Desert (1977) and the Bob Hope British Pro-Am (1980). Spanos has suffered from severe dementia since 2008.
- "Alexander Spanos & family". Forbes. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
- Los Angeles Times: "ALEX SPANOS : How the son of an impoverished Greek immigrant borrowed $800 and turned it into a business and sports empire worth $160 million" by CHRIS COBBS March 11, 1985
- San Diego Union Tribune: "Alex Spanos 'I Hate Losing'" by Roger M. Showley May 12, 2002
- "Forbes Largest Private Companies 2003". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Minority Chargers' Owner Dies at Age 98". nbcsandiego.com. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
- "San Diego Chargers on the Forbes NFL Teams Valuation List". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2015-03-19.
- "Cal Poly". Cal Poly. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- San Diego reader: "Spanos Clan to Host Romney Fundraiser at Stockton Estate" By Matt Potter March 6, 2012
- "Faye Spanos, Chargers owner's wife, dies at 92". espn.com. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- Pat Bowlen resigns control of Denver Broncos. Denver Post. Retrieved July 23, 2014.