|Born||Alexander Gus Spanos
September 28, 1923
|Education||University of the Pacific|
|Occupation||Majority shareholder of the San Diego Chargers
Founder of A. G. Spanos Companies
|Net worth|| US$1.69 billion
|Children||Dean Alexander Spanos
Dea Spanos Berberian
Alexis Spanos Ruhl
Alexander Gus Spanos (born September 28, 1923) is an American real estate developer and self-made billionaire who founded the A. G. Spanos Companies and majority owner of the San Diego 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 and joined the Army Air Force training as a pilot but left the program and instead serving as a tail gunner during World War II. Spanos earned varsity letters in running 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, and 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.
San Diego Chargers
In 1984, Spanos bought 60% of the San Diego 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%. He remains partnered with retired San Diego restaurateur George Pernicano, an investor in the team since a few years after its inception. 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 historic 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 in San Luis Obispo are named after him.
Spanos was one of the largest contributors to George W. Bush's reelection 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 are the parents of four adult children: Dean Spanos, who serves as the Chargers' Team President; Micheal Spanos, who serves as the Charger's 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. The Spanos reside in Stockton, California. Spanos also 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 sponsoring 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.
- Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Alexander Spanos March 2013
- San Diego Union Tribune: "Alex Spanos 'I Hate Losing'" by Roger M. Showley May 12, 2002
- 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
- "Forbes Largest Private Companies 2003". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "San Diego Chargers on the Forbes NFL Teams Valuation List". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2015-03-19.
- San Diego reader: "Spanos Clan to Host Romney Fundraiser at Stockton Estate" By Matt Potter March 6, 2012
- Pat Bowlen resigns control of Denver Broncos. Denver Post. Retrieved July 23, 2014.