Chula Vista Fast Pitch, a phantom charity that has taken a cut of proceeds at Petco Park concession stands for the last nine years in return for providing staffing, has also been operating out of Snapdragon Stadium.
Snapdragon, like Petco and many venues throughout the country, recruits charities to provide staffing at concession stands. In return, charities get to keep a certain percentage of concessions revenue.
Chula Vista Fast Pitch, however, is not a real charity, as Voice of San Diego reported Monday. Internet searches, tax filings and business records show that a similarly named nonprofit did exist at one time. But it shut down in 2014.
At Petco, Chula Vista Fast Pitch brought in $3.7 million in net sales over a five-month period earlier this year, according to receipts obtained by Voice.
Charities generally get roughly 10 percent of their net sales at Petco. Ten percent of $3.7 million is $370,000.
Snapdragon is San Diego State University’s brand-new stadium, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary. It hosts concerts, college football and soon, San Diego’s new Major League Soccer team.
SDSU officials declined to provide details about how much staffing Chula Vista Fast Pitch has provided at Snapdragon.
It’s unclear exactly how Snapdragon verifies that organizations operating at the stadium are actually charities. A statement provided by a spokesperson indicates that organizations simply sign a statement confirming their charitable status.
“As part of the verification process, Chula Vista Fast Pitch signed a contract attesting to their current non-profit status,” wrote Cory Marshall, a spokesman for SDSU, in an email. Marshall said the statement should be attributed to Aztec Shops, an SDSU entity, responsible for overseeing concessions.
On Friday, after receiving questions from Voice about the legitimacy of Chula Vista Fast Pitch, stadium officials asked the presumed charity to provide paperwork confirming its nonprofit status.
“They were unable to do so,” wrote Marshall. “As of Friday, Aug. 25, Chula Vista Fast Pitch is no longer permitted at Snapdragon Stadium.”
Marshall said that Chula Vista Fast Pitch provided workers to Snapdragon, but that the group didn’t manage any concessions stands.
Chula Vista Fast Pitch’s last day operating in the stadium was Aug. 5, Marshall clarified after this article was originally published.
Petco concessions are overseen by a global hospitality company called Delaware North. Delaware North officials said they are investigating Chula Vista Fast Pitch, but have not said whether the investigation has come to any resolution.
Noly Ilarde and Martin Rebollo run Chula Vista Fast Pitch, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.
When I spoke to them last week both denied being in charge, but did acknowledge working with the group.
“I help them out,” Rebollo said, as Voice reported Monday.
Rebollo said another man runs the group. He claimed he could only remember the man’s last name.
I tracked Ilarde down at a Ballpark Eats stand at Petco. He said Rebollo is in charge.
“Martin’s in charge. He’s on the paperwork,” Ilarde said.
Rebollo told me that, as far as he knew, Chula Vista Fast Pitch was a real charity and wasn’t involved in anything illegal.
Correction: This post has been updated to correct Cory Marshall’s name.