It is safe to say the relationship between the San Francisco 49ers and the Santa Clara City Council is not improving. The City Council voted on Tuesday to declare the 49ers in breach of their contract, and are sending them a letter on Wednesday giving them 30 days to cure the breach.
The two sides have been arguing over whether or not public funds have been improperly used for various Levi’s Stadium expenses. An audit was ordered and is currently underway. Since the audit started, the City Council has said the 49ers are not handing over the financial documents needed to determine if there are any improprieties. They are sending this letter to the 49ers. They are saying that if the 49ers do not provide the documents, the city will begin the process of taking control of the stadium from the 49ers stadium management company.
The 49ers have responded by saying the documents have been made available to the auditors and the city, but at the 49ers facility. The 49ers have said they prefer the documents be viewed at their facility, rather than be made public at City Hall because of concerns that event promoters would be able to access the information and use it to negotiate down prices.
49ers VP of Communications Bob Lange said, “If a concert promoter was able to go to city hall and collect this information, and take that information and compare it to what the stadium was charging, other acts they could essentially negotiate out the profit margins. Pretty much erasing the revenues that go to the general fund.”
The 49ers released the following statement regarding the Tuesday vote:
“Tonight’s decision was expected and continues a disturbing trend of frivolous and groundless actions by the Mayor and her allies on the Council, putting politics ahead of civic responsibility. We met with City staff last Friday to review all Management Agreement requirements, and they confirmed that we have complied fully. If they would like to receive information in a different format, they simply need to sit down with us and discuss, which would be a far better method of communication than discussing first with the press.
“The 49ers will continue to manage Levi’s Stadium in the first-class manner for which we’re known. The claim that we have refused to provide all relevant documents is simply another alarming claim intended to capture headlines. The fact is that the Authority has received and/or reviewed all relevant documents and have had access to do so throughout the process.”