The San Francisco 49ers and the Santa Clara city council continue their tumultuous relationship of late. The two sides are now in the middle of a back and forth over the use of public money for operation and maintenance of Levi’s Stadium.
Measure J, which helped get the stadium project rolling included a note that money from the city’s General Fund were not to be used in operations and maintenance costs. A grand jury was convened due to complaints related to that. They could not confirm the complaints, but did believe an audit was necessary. The auditors are waiting for certain documents from the 49ers, and that led to Santa Clara mayor Lisa Gillmor stating the 49ers were in breach and needed to turn over those documents.
The 49ers told local media they were turning them over on Monday, and on Saturday evening, they offered up this pointed statement:
"The Mayor's accusations that money is going from the City’s General Fund into the stadium are false and irresponsible. As the Mayor surely knows, since she voted for the agreements, the stadium does not use general fund money. In fact, funds are flowing into the General Fund from the stadium. The 49ers Stadium Management Company has generated over $5.5 million for the City's General Fund over the last two years, plus an additional $2 million in fees to the City. On top of that, another $2 million has also gone to the Discretionary Fund."
“The successful management of Levi’s Stadium by the 49ers Stadium Management Company has allowed the Santa Clara Stadium Authority to reduce its outstanding debt by over $200 million since opening, and fund over $16 million in cash reserves. Those figures do not even include the significant increase in sales and hotel tax revenues generated by the stadium, hotels and other local businesses that will contribute to the Santa Clara General Fund on an annual basis as a direct result of the ongoing operation of Levi’s Stadium.”
The audit is on-going, and will hopefully provide some clarity about the situation. We’ve seen reports about issues related to who is paying police officers, and even whether General Fund money is being used to seed the turf at the stadium. For now it is all speculation, and hopefully this independent audit will provide some answers to bring this latest controversy to a close.
November 8 is election day, and there are six positions up for grabs in Santa Clara. They include four city council seats, the chief of police, and a city clerk. The ballot includes a mix of supporters and opponents of the operation of Levi’s Stadium, so it will be something to track as the election approaches. I’ll do a bit more research to see who is in support of what with regard to these elections.