Alex tells the story of John Spano, the con man who managed to buy a National Hockey League team despite having almost no money. Spano’s ill-fated purchase of the New York Islanders in 1997 is examined with the journalist who lead the investigation that exposed one of the biggest scams in American sports history. Alex is joined by John Valenti of Newsday on the 25th Anniversary of the the con man who nearly brought down an NHL franchise and the league’s commissioner.
Spano, an Ohio native, had lied about nearly everything and still managed to purchase and control the storied Islanders franchise for more than 3 months. We look at his youth near Ashtabula, Ohio, where he played high school football with Urban Meyer. Spano was only 32 when he duped the Islanders and the NHL into selling him the team. John Valenti walks us through the fraud and the staggering lack of due diligence done on Spano’s finances.
As his many and unbelievable excuses for his non-payment build, our guest, John Valenti, begins to investigate John Spano and quickly exposes Spano as a con artist. When the NHL finally removes him and federal investigators close in it takes Valenti to track down Spano when he skips town to the Caribbean. Valenti recalls the Newsday team’s investigation, that he led, and its role in bringing down Spano and ultimately sending him to federal prison for fraud.
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