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OCBJ INSIDER

Keeping Quest Alive

Corona del Mar resident and longtime fitness exec Augie Nieto celebrated his 65th birthday on Feb. 15, a largely unheard-of accomplishment given his diagnosis with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, while in his 40s.

It had been a rough go of it as of late, Nieto said in a mid-February letter to backers of Augie’s Quest, the local group he and his wife, Lynne, started to cure the disease that’s kept him confined to a wheelchair and limited his ability to communicate. It has raised nearly $200 million for ALS research.

“The past seven months have been the most difficult of the almost 18 years since I have had ALS,” he wrote.

A follow-up letter, dated Feb. 22, confirmed the worst.

“If you are reading this, then that day has come,” Nieto wrote.

“As hard as it is to leave my dear friends and family behind, I know that my fight is not over. I have battled ALS for almost 18 years. Physically, ALS has finally taken my body, but my battle to rid the world of this insidious disease will continue.

“I know that I have a lot to be thankful for. I was luckier than most, and was able to enjoy those close to me longer than so many friends with ALS. I am thankful for my family, as I count them as the finest achievement of my life. I am thankful for my friends who stayed by my side and were a constant reminder of how precious life is, in spite of its difficulties.

“Please keep me in your hearts … please help continue the progress of Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS.”

A celebration of Nieto’s life is in the works. See next week’s print edition of the Business Journal for more.

Orange County could add some ownership ties to England’s 20-team Premier League, the world’s most valuable sporting league. Which soccer team is being eyed for a takeover remains unclear.

Balboa Island resident Jeff Moorad was spotted at a match at Everton’s Goodison Park last month, alongside fellow MSP Sports Capital partner Jahm Najafi.

Reports in early February from across the pond say that MSP Sports, which already counts stakes in soccer clubs in Germany, Spain, Portugal and Belgium, had initiated talks over taking on a minority stake in Everton, whose fanbase has turned against its current ownership team and board during another rough season.

Later in February, MSP Sports was said to be turning its attention to a more valuable club, London’s Tottenham Hotspur, with plans to make a $3.75 billion offer. Other investors, including some from Abu Dhabi, would be part of the bid, according to a recent report in the Financial Times.

Cash-flush oil nation-backed entities and U.S.-based private equity-backed groups have become the two biggest investors in the soccer league of late.

Moorad, a sports agent-turned sports exec and owner, has cited Spurs, as they are called, as being his favorite team, and made a prior attempt at gaining a stake in the North London club about seven years ago.

In addition to soccer clubs, MSP Sports counts ownership of the F1 team McLaren Racing and the X Games.

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Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.
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