Research provided by Colin McGregor aka CMAC circa January 2015
We’ve talked about this many times, and always puzzled a bit. However, over the last couple of days, I’ve been doing some digging. Not on sports sites, but all kinds of public records, corporate wikis, company reports and a ton of other shit. Some of this stuff you can find if you know where to look, some of it is connecting dots, and some of it, the more recent bits, is hellishly well buried, you’re literally finding “subparagraph 4 of the footnotes” of some stuff I was kinda surprised you could find online at all, but hey, Public Disclosure is a wonderful thing.
So, with no further ado, while the Raiders Media Guide gives you 4 pages of Al-dulation then a little grey box with some mysterious names in it telling you there’s some other “ownership interests”, I give you a fuller version.
THE OAKLAND RAIDERS, A CALIFORNIA PARTNERSHIP
(prev THE OAKLAND RAIDERS FOOTBALL PARTNERSHIP, 1960)
Founding General Partners
Y. Charles “Chet” SODA (d. 1989): Managing General Partner, 1960-61.
Founder of the group which eventually won support from Oakland’s civic leaders to bring professional football to Oakland. Sold his interest to fellow general partners Wayne Valley, E.W. (Ed) McGah and Robert Osbourne on 17 January 1961. Soda was a wealthy San Leandro cement contractor, past President of the Board of the Port of Oakland, and later built the Oakland Museum.
Charles HARNEY (d. 1962): General Partner, 1960-61.
Harney was a local construction magnate, and was the builder of Candlestick Park, also owning the land at Candlestick Point where it stands (well, for now). Harney also disposed of his partnership interest to Valley, McGah and Osbourne in early 1961.
Robert OSBORNE (d.1968): General Partner, 1960-62.
Osbourne was a city councilman who, along with Soda and Harney, were one of the three groups initially interested in bringing football to Oakland. One of only three general partners to survive into the 1961 season, taking on the partnership’s treasurer role after he, along with Valley and McGah, had bought out the other general partners.
Osbourne however was in bad health, and sold his interest to McGah and Valley in 1962. It’s believed Osbourne owned 10% of the franchise, and as the next change after his ownership ended was the arrival of Al Davis, some consider that it was “his 10%” Al bought.
F. Wayne VALLEY (d. 1986): General Partner, 1960, Vice President and Managing General Partner 1961-72, Vice President and General Partner 1972-76.
Valley was a former Oregon State football standout who had built up a successful nationwide construction business. Valley, along with EW McGah and Robert Osbourne, purchased the interests of all the other General Partners on 17 January 1961, becoming Vice President of the Franchise, and was instrumental in securing a $400,000 loan from Ralph Wilson, owner of the Bills, to allow the franchise to keep going into the 1961 season (the Raiders had lost $500k in the 1960 season).
Following the acquisition, Valley owned 15% of the partnership at large. He resigned as General Partner in 1976, selling his share to Al Davis, after Davis had, in 1972, engineered a coup with EW McGah which saw Davis acquire total control of franchise operations as Managing General Partner.
EW (Ed) MCGAH (d. 1983): General Partner, 1960-61, President and General Partner, 1966-1983.
EW “Ed” McGah was one of the original general partners who came to the franchise as highly successful construction business (the Yerba Buena tunnel on the old Bay Bridge was part of his handiwork). After buying out the other general partners along with Valley and Osbourne in 1961, McGah became the President of the Partnership, primarily because he had provided the greatest financial investment.
McGah was a huge sports fan in general, but generally left the running of the franchise to Valley. Ed was also a huge fan of Al Davis, and led the group wanting to bring Al back in 1966 after his AFL commissionership became defunct, but most critically, was complicit in the 1972 Night of the Long Knives, where Al demanded a meeting with him, knowing Valley was out of the country at the Olympics in Munich, and then stated that unless McGah countersign a new general partnership agreement making Davis the new Managing General Partner, together with complete control over all operations, not just football, he would quit. McGah agreed.
After Al became Managing General Partner, he purposefully left McGah with the (by now meaningless) title of President, but merged the Managing Partner and President roles on McGah’s death in 1983. Al spoke at McGah’s funeral, calling him “a great friend and business partner”. Ed’s (highly significant) share in the Raiders passed to his son, Ed Jr (see below), but reverted to Limited Partner status.
Donald F (Don) BLESSING (d. 2000): General Partner, 1960-61.
At the time of his Raiders Partnership, Blessing was a stockbroker in San Francisco and continued in this role until 1979. Blessing disposed of his partnership interest to Valley, McGah and Osbourne in early 1961. He was a former Olympic Gold Medalist as a rowing coxswain in the 1928 games.
Harvey BINNS (d. 1982): General Partner, 1960.
Binns was a local restaurateur, but he ceased to be a general partner before a game was played due to disagreements with Soda, selling his interest to Wallace Marsh (see below).
Art BECKETT (?): General Partner, 1960
Like Binns, sold his interest before a game was played to Roger Lapham Jr (see below)
Short Term General Partners, 1960-61 only
Wallace MARSH (?): General Partner, 1960-61
Local Industrialist. Marsh subsequently sold his share to Valley, McGah and Osborne in January, 1961.
Roger LAPHAM Jr (d. 2000): General Partner, 1960-61
The son of a former SF mayor and director of a number of local companies. Sold his interest to Valley, McGah and Osborne in January, 1961.
Modern Era General Partners
Allen (Al) DAVIS (d. 2011): Partner 1966-2011, including General Partner, 1966-1976, Managing General Partner, 1976-1983, President of the General Partner, 1983-87.
Davis acquired 10% of the Raiders in 1966 for $18,000 and became a General Partner in charge of Football Operations. He increased his stake to 25% in 1976, buying out the interest of Wayne Valley after Davis had had the General Partnership Agreement rewritten in 1972 behind Valley’s back and rubberstamped by him (Davis) and EW McGah to make Davis the new Managing General Partner with control over all operations. In 1983, on the death of EW McGah, Davis became President of the General Partner.
Between 1976 and 2004, Davis’s ownership % increased by to around 37.7%, almost certainly (by elimination of other avenues) via purchase of the interests of unnamed Limited Partners interests, and in 2005, increased to 67.8% on the purchase of 31.1% interest held by the Estate of limited partner EJ McGah. Davis disposed of 20% of his ownership to First Football Inc in 2008. On his death in 2011, his known ownership interest (47.8%) passed to his wife Carol and son Mark.
AD FOOTBALL INC (Formed 1987): Manager of the General Partner, 1987-Present.
AD Football Inc is the Personal Services Company of Al Davis, and lately, the Davis Family. It’s founder and President was Al Davis until 2011, when Carol Davis became President on Al’s death (as defined in a 1999 partnership agreement amendment).
The creation of AD Football Inc allowed the Davis Family to hold the General Partner position in perpetuity rather than it, theoretically, becoming vacant on Al’s death (under the 1972 agreement, and as with the EW / EJ McGah transition, the general partnership share would have become limited partnership status, creating, inter alia, the need for a vote to elect a new General Partner or, more worryingly for the Davis family, a vote for a completely different corporate structure in which their voice might diluted or eliminated entirely e.g. dissolution and sale).
AD Football Inc subcontracts an “employee” of the company (the “manager”) to act on its behalf as General Partner of the Oakland Raiders. From 1987 to 2011, Al Davis performed in this role. From 2011-present, AD Football Inc employs Mark Davis for this role in a personal capacity (Mark also has his own PSC, MD Football LLC, which is a 2013 corporation set up for the purposes of gradually transferring greater ownership to him in the most efficient manner possible, but its latest filings suggest that it hasn’t done anything so far in terms of acquisitions).
Jack HARTMAN (Living): Limited Partner, 1960-present
Bay Area Businessman. Related to the McGah family through his wife. Unique insofar as he is the only original partner of the Oakland Raiders Football Partnership still with us, the last link to “Day 1”. Hartman’s exact ownership stake is unknown, but it is believed to be perhaps the third largest single stake in the team, as much as 10%.
Hartman is obviously now in advanced old age, but is one of the few Limited Partners who’ve ever spoken publicly, albeit only a few times. The last time I can recall was in approximately 1995 when a newspaper journalist asked him about the return to Oakland, Hartman responding that “We (meaning the other minority owners) are delighted to be back home in Oakland, we think Al’s made a great decision” or words to that effect. Hartman, I’ve heard, was the last original limited partner to really take much of an interest in the team, occasionally dropping by the facility for a general chat with Al, with whom he was on very good terms.
Arnold Arthur (Artie) BOSCACCI (d. 1987): Limited Partner 1960-87
Partnership now held by Allan BOSCACCI (son)
Artie Boscacci was one of the original limited partners from 1960, along with his brother Gene (below). On Artie’s death, his interest passed to his widow, Rita (or Reta), and, on her death in October 2009, to Allan. Allan Boscacci is an investment manager in San Francisco and Stockton (The Bosley Company).
Allan has only ever spoken once on his ownership, shortly after his mother’s death, in response to a SD journalist who was looking into the Raiders Minority owners at the time, and only to give the party line, “Please direct all questions to the Raiders” (who, naturally, gave a no comment). The journalist’s article later described the group of original limited partners he had attempted to make contact as “The Silent Elders of the Raiders” (which I think sounds cool as hell).
Eugene “Gene” BOSCACCI (d. 1994): Limited Partner 1960-94
Partnership now held by Ginny Boscacci (widow)
As the name suggests, younger brother of Artie. Ginny is now deep into her 90s.
Ralph J VAIL (d. 1996): Limited Partner 1960-96
Partnership now held by Doray R Vail (widow)
Ralph Vail was a relation of Ed McGah Senior, and also the business partner of fellow Raiders partner Jack Hartman (see above). Doray Vail lives in Westwood, CA after moving from Stockton after Ralph’s death.
Wilfred “Bill” WINKENBACH (d. 1991): Limited Partner 1960-1993
Partnership now held by GOPPPL LC (trust)
Known as “Bill the Gill”, or just “Wink”, Bill Winkenbach was a millionaire tile contractor in Oakland, and oddly enough, maybe, by association at least, even more famous than even Al Davis. Why? Bill Winkenbach is credited, along with Raiders 1962 PR Man Bill Tunnel and Oakland Tribune writer (and later, Al’s successor as Raiders GM after he left to take up the AFL post) Scottie Stirling, as the inventor of fantasy football, which, in its origins, was actually just Bill’s idea to increase interest in the fledgling AFL (and grow his own investment, obviously).
Bill’s interest passed to his widow Gertrude in 1993, and Mrs Winkenbach survived a further 20 years to mid-2013, passing away at 102 in a San Luis Obispo retirement home, although she admitted as late as 2009 that she was still a fan and watched games on TV sometimes.
GOPPPL (Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League!) remains today no doubt a superb cash cow for the Winkenbach descendants, not only as a small part owner of the Raiders, but also as the trademark has now been licensed to the NFL itself – basically to allow them to use the Fantasy Football concept, no doubt for a considerable annual fee.
E. J. MCGAH (& ESTATE) (d. 2002): Limited Partner 1983-2002
Partnership Interest sold to Al Davis, 2005.
EJ McGah (Ed McGah Jr, or Eddie), son of original General Partner EW McGah (Ed Senior) became a limited partner in 1983 on the death of his father. Under the terms of the 1972 Amended General Partnership Agreement ratified by his father and Al Davis, on the death of a general partner, their general partnership status expired and the beneficiary of the partner’s estate became a limited partner. Eddie was a former minor league baseball player with the Red Sox, served in WW2, and returned to win the Pennant with the Red Sox in 1946. Ed took only a passing interest in the Raiders, less so than his father, and concentrated on growing the family construction and real estate businesses.
His death in 2002 and the status of his successors triggered a lawsuit against Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders Partnership in general – EJ’s grandson, Sherrat Reicher, and his widow, Barbara, alleged that AD Football Inc and Al Davis personally had mismanaged partnership funds, committed fraud, broken the partnership agreement, and refused to furnish records to Reicher (the executor of EJ’s estate) as they had done to EJ. They also sought the removal of Al Davis/AD Football Inc as general partner and the subsequent dissolution of the partnership.
The Raiders countered that they did not see Reicher as a Limited Partner, rather he was an assignee, that the furbishment of Financial Records was reserved to General Partners only, and that the they had only given EJ such information as of courtesy. The Court supported Reicher & McGah’s status claim, and the Raiders lost, but critically, the judge declared that the 1960 partnership agreement remained valid and Al Davis/AD Football could not be removed from the position of General Partner without a Partnership Majority vote (something the McGahs knew would be impossible to win given Al appeared to have the support of the remaining limited partners).
The Raiders appealed the decision, but before a final judgement was reached, an out of court settlement was reached whereby Al Davis purchased the entire 31.1% stake from the McGah estate for a sum estimated to be around $90m, significantly below what would seem to be fair market value, possibly because the McGahs would have faced significant estate taxes unless they sold the stake immediately and with the partnership agreement stating other partners had first refusal on any sales, Al was, ironically, their only option for a quick sale.
Sherrat Reicher Trivia: Reicher was actually an ex-Raiders employee, a scout and defensive line assistant coach during the LA years and the immediate aftermath of returning to Oakland. He left the Raiders on the death of his grandfather in 2002 to run the family businesses (particularly their Napa wineries, one of EJ’s passions), and also married a Raiders staffer, Wendy Gottlieb, during his time with the team.
Bob SEAMAN (Living): Limited Partner c. 1992 – present.
Robert E Seaman III is Massachusetts based attorney who seems to specialise particularly in Real Estate. He is also a graduate of Al’s alma mater, The Citadel, which probably is as good information as any as to his connection to the Raiders.
As a late entrant into the Raiders Partnership, and one which, oddly enough, the Raiders have openly made comment on, saying that his investment is “less than 1%”, so it would seem his involvement is for reasons other than financial. My personal suspicion, given the timing of his tenure, was that he was heavily involved in the return to Oakland / departure from LA, and although Al had complete operational power, there may be some elements of the operation of the partnership itself that required the signature of two partners, not just one. With the advancing years of the remaining limiting partners at the time, Al may have felt it necessary to have an additional, more reliable, hand nearby wielding a pen than having to loiter outside retirement homes hoping they still recognised him. His investment, I suspect, amounts to a ceremonial single dollar.
FIRST FOOTBALL (Formed 2008): Limited Partner 2008 – present.
Football First is the trading name of an investment group led by David Abrams, director of the Abrams Capital investment firm, Paul Leff, founder of the Perry Corporation money management firm, and Dan Goldring, managing director at Perry Corp. Paul Leff is the principal of the Raiders Investment, and appears on the Raiders “Interest Holders” list as “First Football – Paul Leff”.
FF acquired 20% of the Raiders in 2008 from Al Davis who had been seeking to sell a portion of the partnership ever since acquiring the 31.1% McGah Family interest, but had been unable to do so as long as the offering did not include executive control (reserved for the General Partner). At 20% (confirmed by Amy Trask in 2008 on announcement of the investment), it is widely assumed theirs is now the second largest individual holding in the Raiders.
Carol Sagan DAVIS (Living): Limited Partner c. 2011(?) – present
Carol’s ownership stake is held through a number of vehicles – firstly, as owner of AD Football Inc, she controls the general partnership (see above), however through another company, ADF Holdings LLC (created in 2005), which she is also listed as owner of, and one of its two subsidiaries, she also holds a Limited Partner take (it’s believed that the General Partner stake is quite small, the Limited Partner Stake is the bulk of the holding). I believe “ADF” stands for Allen Davis (&) Family. The second subsidiary company is a holding company, rumoured to be the vehicle through which the Al purchased the 31.1% stake of the McGahs (selling 20% of it).
It’s extremely likely that Al actually passed the holdings to Carol shortly before his death to avoid estate taxes. This may yet become a huge problem for the Davis family as no such exemption would be available if Carol died and passed the stake to Mark. Some venture that the 2008 sale of the 20% interest to FF was to generate a fund for exactly this purpose.
However, here’s the wrinkle: I have a suspicion, and only that, that the Holding company may have a little more in it. When you look at the ownership and lawyers breadcrumbs trail, there seems to be a link to Allen Boscacci (see above). Did Boscacci sell some of his limited partnership to Al, sometime after 2005? Rita Boscacci died in 2009, but that’s not to say she hadn’t already passed some of her share to her son. Could it also be that in doing so, Al actually acquired just enough to put the family stake over the 50% line (it would take around 2.3%, and as it seems the limited partners tend to average around 5-6% – maybe half of their stake)? I really don’t know, I’m just hypothesising, but there is a definite link to the Boscaccis here for no apparent reason.
UNKNOWN LIMITED PARTNERSHIP INTERESTS
Mark Davis: It’s an almost certainty that Mark Davis personally owns a very small ownership share, both in AD Football Inc *and* ADF Holdings LLC, which make him – once you strip all the corporations away – both a General Partner and Limited Partner in two separate capacities. The % of ownership held by the general partnership in isolation is believed to be very small. The personal share is necessary for him to be recognised as an “owner” under NFL rules.
Other Davis Family interests: it’s been rumoured for years that Al’s elder brother Jerry holds a very small share. Jerry, of course, you would recognise as the old fella who’s called the Raiders draft pick in NY every year. Jerry is 4 years older than Al would have been and will be turning 90 soon, but I believe he’s still in fairly good health considering.
Secret New Investment: Rumours have abounded for years of secret limited partners – a story emerged in 1989, again in 1994, and yet again in 1995 of a mystery investor holding up to 15% of the franchise. It’s unlikely this one, at least, is true. The Raiders Media Guide today lists only the names above (without listing Carol), but it’s not a legal document – there’s no requirement to list every owner – however if an investment of this size had occurred, there would be a trail somewhere.
“The Ghosts”: This is the most intriguing one, and possibly the most likely. There may have been more limited partners initially, the original 1960 partnership list is in a sealed vault somewhere and is only trotted out when needs must (e.g. the Reicher/McGah case). I’ve really gone down every avenue on this one. We can trace 5 to today – Jack Hartman, the two branches of the Boscacci family, the Winkenbachs and the Vails – but there were more, but I found a single reference to there being EIGHT in total. Who are the three ghosts? Nope, that’s where the trail ends, I can’t find a shred on them. I thought initially that Marsh and Beckett may have been “promoted”, but no, they were fresh investments when Binns and Beckett exited.
Somehow however, Al’s share of ownership grew from 25% to 37.1% between 1976 and 2005, yet no apparent ownership transactions took place during that time and the McGah stake remained at 31%. My guess – and it’s only that – is that during that time period, Al bought out three other original limited partners whose names are lost in the mists of time (or buried in Al LoCasale’s Yard, whichever is more foreboding), and it happened sometime between 1985 and 1987. Given the estimated stakes of the remaining limited partners we *do* know, it just seems to add up.