John Spano
American businessman
John Spano
John A. Spano, Jr. is a businessman and swindler who briefly bought control of the NHL's New York Islanders in 1996 before he was exposed as a fraud. Due to the NHL spending a minimal amount in checking his background and an abandonment of usual banking safeguards, he was able to make it appear that he was worth several times more than he actually was.
Biography
John Spano's personal information overview.
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News
News abour John Spano from around the web
After Prison, Regret From a Would-Be Owner
NYTimes - over 3 years
In an interview, John Spano expressed remorse for financial crimes that led to a 71-month prison sentence more than a decade ago.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Freshman Nida Shaikh Serves As Superintendent for the Day
Avon Patch - almost 5 years
When Avon High School freshman Nida Shaikh first got in the car with Avon Superintendent Gary Mala for her stint as Superintendent for the Day, she already had one question: "I was like, so, Mr. Mala. What powers do I get?" Shaikh asked. Shaikh, who grew up in Syracuse, NY, and has lived in Avon for five years, said she won the opportunity through an online auction at a gala, an Avon Education Foundation and PTO fundraiser. "I was literally jumping up and down because I thought it would be a cool and fun experience," Shaikh said. This was the first time Avon schools offered someone the chance to walk in the superintendent's shoes. "I just reflected on a way to allow students an opportunity to see different parts of how school districts operate, and I just have this commitment to maintaining as much contact with students over the course of my works, as possible," Mala said. Shaikh, mathematician and artist extraordinaire, would soon learn how busy a superintendent is. Her ...
Article Link:
Avon Patch article
Turning Points in New York Islanders History: Milbury Fires Darcy Regier - Lighthouse Hockey
Google News - over 5 years
who themselves came before the fraudulent John Spano, which is all part of an ownership history that few who slag off the Islanders bother to recall or research. So describing some of these moves as "the Islanders did X" is almost an insult to all the
Article Link:
Google News article
SAMUEL J. SPANO, SR. - Times Herald-Record
Google News - over 5 years
Survivors include his son, William Spano and his wife, Diana Andersen of South Carolina; daughter, Donna Wheeler of Florida; son, Samuel Spano, Jr. and his companion, Wendy Powers of Wallkill; son, John Spano and his wife, JoAnne of Wallkill; son,
Article Link:
Google News article
For Potential Owner, a Background Check Worthy of the K.G.B.
NYTimes - over 7 years
The roster of N.B.A. owners features a United States senator, a shopping-mall magnate, an Internet entrepreneur, a chemist, a cruise-ship operator and a founder of Amway. Will a billionaire Russian oligarch be next? Mikhail D. Prokhorov would be not only the first Russian oligarch to own a major American sports team but also the first non-North
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NYTimes article
LEADING OFF; What We Know: Mexico Must Win
NYTimes - over 7 years
Who was it who said: ''As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know. We don't know.'' Well, who said it isn't important right now, but looking through the sports
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NYTimes article
SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Islanders' Glory Days Seem Long, Long Ago
NYTimes - about 10 years
The Islanders were in first place. That seemed like a good reason to visit Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night. Also, Mike Bossy is working for the Islanders, and I wanted to say hello. No franchise can live on nostalgia, but there once was a time when this place rocked with excellence, with four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 through 1983, which
Article Link:
NYTimes article
HOCKEY; Islanders' Smith Dismissed; Backup Goalie Is In as G.M.
NYTimes - over 10 years
As of yesterday morning, Garth Snow was the Islanders' backup goaltender. By the end of the day, the 36-year-old Snow was suddenly and bizarrely the team's new general manager, replacing Neil Smith, who was fired after less than six weeks on the job. Adding more intrigue to the day, Pat LaFontaine, a popular former Islander, resigned as senior
Article Link:
NYTimes article
A Pot on Boil, and a Race on Slow Burn; Fight for a State Senate Seat Drags On, but at Least There's Time to Cook
NYTimes - about 12 years
As an industrial-size pot of sauce with meatballs and chunks of pork simmered on the stove, Nicholas A. Spano stirred and thought about what he would have been doing on a Sunday morning in late January in any other year. ''There's surely some legislative breakfast, or meeting with school board association or something I'd have to attend,'' said Mr.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
PRO HOCKEY; Although Islanders Are Improving, They Still Lose Money
NYTimes - over 13 years
The Islanders have discovered during the past three years that new ownership can stabilize a floundering team, revive its reputation and amass greater revenues. But it cannot conjure a profit. Under Charles B. Wang and Sanjay Kumar, the Islanders have accelerated spending to sign Aleksei Yashin, Michael Peca and Chris Osgood, to refurbish luxury
Article Link:
NYTimes article
HOCKEY; Sabres Termed Stable After Arrest of Owners
NYTimes - over 14 years
The arrests of the owners of the Buffalo Sabres -- who were charged yesterday in federal court with a multibillion-dollar fraud in the running of Adelphia Communications -- should not affect the team's operations, the National Hockey League commissioner said. ''It's business as usual,'' Commissioner Gary Bettman said, ''and we're urging our fans to
Article Link:
NYTimes article
SPORTS MEDIA; Announcer Shares In the Isles' Revival
NYTimes - almost 15 years
Winning, that great psychological deodorant, affects more than a team's players, coaches and fans. The impact is also felt by the announcers. Sure, if you call a lousy team, you aim to be professional and not let constant losing numb your spirit. But serial losing is lousy to watch, even worse to keep calling. Ask the lucky guys who have called
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NYTimes article
Islanders Shoot, Fans Score; Hockey Offers a Respite From Gloom on Long Island
NYTimes - almost 15 years
Nassau County is broke, and along Hempstead Turnpike, symbols of the wealthy suburb's tumble abound. There is the towering medical center, which laid off more than 350 workers to save money. There, in the distance, is the sleek brick-and-glass Omni office building, where members of a state fiscal oversight board convene to plumb the depths of
Article Link:
NYTimes article
HOCKEY: NOTEBOOK; Sale Of Coyotes Is Still In Works
NYTimes - about 16 years
The proposed sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to a group headed by Steve Ellman and Wayne Gretzky, according to National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, ''remains a work in progress.'' No one knows whether the group will ever close the sale. In his semiannual state of the league address during the All-Star Game weekend here, Bettman indicated
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Spano
    FIFTIES
  • 2015
    Age 50
    He pleaded guilty to charges of collecting almost $70,000 in commissions on fraudulent accounts in May 2015 and was sentenced to 10 years prison on June 17, 2015.
    More Details Hide Details He was also ordered to pay more than $75,000 in restitution to Image First. The Spano fiasco was highly embarrassing to the NHL, which was still reeling from revelations that former NHLPA head Alan Eagleson had lied to his clients and enriched himself by skimming off the union's pension fund. The NHL was particularly shaken after it was revealed that it spent well under $1,000 evaluating Spano's credentials (estimates range from $525 to $750); most leagues spend well over $30,000 to evaluate prospective team owners. When Spano bid for the Stars, the team was satisfied by a letter supposedly from Comerica attesting to his net worth. Prospective NHL owners are now vetted by Ernst and Young and a New York City accounting firm. These safeguards were not enough, however, to prevent John Rigas from buying the Buffalo Sabres in 1997, only to have the league take over the franchise after his 2002 arrest for fraud. In 2007 the Nashville Predators were sold to a group that included a nearly 30% share to William "Boots" Del Biaggio III, who was later revealed to have fraudulently obtained $110 million in loans from two NHL owners and eight banks in order to purchase a stake in the Predators, a crime for which he was sentenced to eight years in prison on September 8, 2009 and ordered to sell his share of the team.
  • FORTIES
  • 2011
    Age 46
    In a scheme that took place from June 2011 until July 2013, Spano stole from his employers Image First, which rents linens to outpatient facilities in Ohio, and its sister company London Cleaners.
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  • 2009
    Age 44
    He was jailed for 51 months and released from prison on April 3, 2009.
    More Details Hide Details On August 20, 2014, Spano was indicted by a grand jury in Ohio on one count of theft and 44 counts of forgery.
  • 2005
    Age 40
    However, he was arrested again in February 2005 for defrauding numerous companies by promising to obtain loans for them and pocketing the fees without getting the loans.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 2004
    Age 39
    Spano was released in June 2004 on five years' supervised release and moved to a Cleveland suburb.
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  • 2000
    Age 35
    On January 28, 2000, he was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $11.9 million to his victims, including the Islanders ($3.4 million), two Dallas businesses ($4.4 million), and Mario Lemieux ($1.25 million).
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  • 1999
    Age 34
    During 1999, his wife divorced him and sold their house, and he moved to a Philadelphia condo where he had tried to pay the rent with an expired credit card, $10,000 in bad checks and wire transfers.
    More Details Hide Details This led to his arrest in February, and he lost his bail.
  • 1998
    Age 33
    He pleaded guilty to bank fraud on January 13, 1998.
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  • 1997
    Age 32
    However, when the NHL's Board of Governors met in June 1997, Spano was conspicuously absent.
    More Details Hide Details Instead, the Islanders were represented by two men from the Pickett regime. It emerged that Spano had only paid $26,200 to Pickett for the cable rights after five attempts. On one attempt, he'd wired Pickett only $5,000 instead of the $5 million originally agreed upon. On another, a $17 million check had bounced. On another, he sent $1,700 when he was supposed to send the $17 million. Pickett asked Bettman to mediate. The commissioner ordered Spano to remove himself from day-to-day control of the Islanders and not use any team assets until the dispute could be settled. In early July, Newsday, acting on tips from anonymous Islanders executives that their new boss was significantly less than advertised, began investigating Spano's background. On July 9, Newsday published a story that exposed Spano as a complete fraud who didn't have even a fraction of the money required to complete the Islanders deal. Among other things, the Newsday investigation revealed:
    He and Pickett agreed to a five-year installment package for the cable rights, and the league's other owners approved the sale in February 1997.
    More Details Hide Details The first $16.5 million payment on the cable rights was due on April 7. The money wasn't there that day, but Spano promised Pickett it would be made, showing him a letter from Lloyds Bank in London promising that the money would be wired out. This was enough to satisfy Pickett, and he closed the deal. Even before the deal closed, Spano pumped $2.5 million into the team's payroll and forced head coach/general manager Mike Milbury to give his coach's role to Rick Bowness. He also let it be known that he intended to be a major player in the free-agent market.
  • 1996
    Age 31
    In October 1996, Spano agreed to buy the Islanders from longtime owner John Pickett for $165 million: $80 million for Pickett's 90 percent stake in the team and $85 million for its lucrative cable television contract with SportsChannel New York, which at the time earned the Islanders $13 million a year.
    More Details Hide Details He later agreed to buy the remaining 10 percent of the team held by the management group that had been running the Islanders' day-to-day operations since 1989. Spano billed himself as the owner of a leasing operation that he'd built from one company with four employees to a group of 10 companies with 6,000 employees worldwide in just six years. He claimed to be worth $230 million largely based on money inherited from his wealthy grandfather Angelo. He claimed to own his University Park house free and clear; the house was supposedly worth $3 million. Pickett and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman thought that Spano would be a lifesaver for the Islanders. The once-proud franchise, best known for their meteoric rise from also-ran to four-time Stanley Cup champions, had missed the playoffs in five of the last eight years. They had also been suffering at the gate, and rumors abounded that they were about to move to Atlanta, Nashville or Houston. Spano promised to keep the team on Long Island and either renovate, rebuild or replace the aging Nassau Coliseum. He paid for the team at signing with a loan from a syndicate of banks headed by Fleet Bank.
  • 1995
    Age 30
    On September 1995, he reached a tentative agreement to buy a 50 percent interest in the Dallas Stars, but the date for the closing was pushed back several times, during which Spano began making what owner Norman Green called unreasonable demands.
    More Details Hide Details Green backed out of the deal in November, eventually selling the team to Tom Hicks. Years later, Jim Lites, the Stars' president at the time, recalled visiting Spano's mansion in the Dallas suburb of University Park. Despite Spano's claimed wealth, Lites said the house was unfurnished. Among the "laughable" excuses Spano offered were a written agreement with the team's top minor league affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings and a request to have his South African partners meet with Stars officials. Lites also said that Spano insisted that Lites pick up the tab for their dinners—something Lites said he'd never seen in all of his years as a sports executive. Spano also made an abortive bid for the Florida Panthers that year.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1990
    Age 25
    After working several sales jobs in Pittsburgh and Dallas, he founded the Bison Group in 1990.
    More Details Hide Details It was a Dallas-based company that primarily leased aircraft.
  • 1986
    Age 21
    He graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in business administration in 1986.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1964
    Born
    Born on May 31, 1964.
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