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San Diego State Asked to Stop Using Padres Owner's Name

October 19, 2002|Rebecca Trounson and Beth Silver | Special to The Times

San Diego Padres owner John Moores, stung by a student newspaper column on his financial and legal troubles, has asked San Diego State University to stop using his name as a prominent benefactor of the school, a Padres official said Friday.

But Moores, who has donated more than $30 million to San Diego State since 1994, has not broken ties to the university or withdrawn his financial support, according to Bob Vizas, vice chairman of the baseball team.

"He said, 'Look, take my name off stuff. I don't want my name used in affiliation with the university if it's going to be a lightning rod for controversy,' " Vizas said Moores told university President Stephen Weber and other officials.

Moores, who also heads the UC Board of Regents, is the chairman of Peregrine Systems, a San Diego software company that is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department for questionable accounting practices. The company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Moores did not return calls for comment Friday.

His office referred calls to Vizas.

The Padres official said Moores was upset by an Oct. 10 column in the student-run Daily Aztec, which detailed his recent difficulties and argued that the university should reconsider its affiliation with Moores. The headline on the column by senior Lenn Bell said the school's athletics should not "be the beneficiary of corporate greed."

But Vizas denied a San Diego Union-Tribune report Friday that Moores had broken ties to the university. "It's one thing to use someone's name, and another to support it financially and philosophically, and that he still does," Vizas said.

In a statement Friday, Weber did not comment directly on the controversy but praised Moores and his wife, Becky, as "among the most generous friends San Diego State University has ever known."

A university spokesman noted that a plaque honoring the Mooreses on the school's baseball stadium, along with several plaques naming other benefactors, had recently been removed for cleaning.

Spokesman Jack Beresford said he did not know when or whether they would be replaced.

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