Levi's Stadium spat: Santa Clara will work to remove 49ers' power over non-NFL stadium operations

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Francisco 49ers and the City of Santa Clara are continuing their battle off the field.

At a special meeting held Tuesday night, City leaders made it clear they want to end a management agreement with the 49ers for managing and operating non-NFL events.

The City voted 6-0 to begin the legal process.

"This is about compliance, accountability and transparency," City Manager Deanna Santana explained. "This is an introduction of an ordinance that amends various sections of the code to modify the Stadium Authority Executive Director's authority to execute contracts."

In her position, Santana is also the acting Executive Director of the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.

A comprehensive report revealed at the meeting cited a number of lawsuits filed against the City of Santa Clara, by the 49ers. The report also uncovered more than $85,000 in wages the City said wasn't correctly paid to contract workers, among other serious issues.

"The violations are significant," Santana said.

However, 49er spokesperson Rahul Chandhok maintains Santana and the City's actions are retaliatory.

You'll remember the Rolling Stones rocked out at Levi's Stadium last month. The band's promoter later wrote stadium management, blasting the City for micro-management and other complications with the concert.

The letters were released by the 49ers.

In a statement to ABC7 News, the team explained, "After the Rolling Stones highlighted City Manager Santana's dysfunction, she has chosen to spiral even further. Her proposal is purely retaliatory and will result in increased costs, lost events, and further erode the public's trust in her abilities."

Chandhok continued, "It's unconscionable that the City Manager is willfully jeopardizing critical city revenue to score political points."

The City of Santa Clara released background on the issue, publicly stating: "The Forty-Niners have incurred ongoing contracting violations, including state prevailing wage violations. Two Notices of Breach and Defaults were issued in 2019, along with the commencement of a forensic audit of the Stadium Manager's delegated procurement authority. The 49ers did not cure or resolve the breaches and defaults."

The City said the 49ers have also "refused to provide information and documents regarding the 49ers' actions on behalf of the Stadium Authority, including information regarding charged shared stadium expenses."

The release continued, "The Stadium Authority cannot risk any further violations of law or liability based on the 49ers' failures to properly procure contracts and lack of transparency with the Stadium Authority."

Tuesday night, City Attorney Brian Doyle was adamant, "No matter what may come from these out-of-town billionaires- who apparently don't give a darn about the community that gave them their home field- I will not stand down as your City Attorney."

Doyle claimed the City has hit rock bottom, and they have nothing to lose by ending the agreement.

Instead, he said the move "results from booking money-losing events that have no economic value to the city."

"It appears they are booking those events where public entities will lose revenue because the 49ers will make money anyway," he continued.

Long-time resident, Mary Grizzle said because of the feud, other areas of growth suffer.

"I would like to see the 49ers come to the negotiating table to free some of this money, so we can have shovels in the ground in two years," Grizzle told ABC7 News. "That's my dream."

According to the City, the next steps involve the second reading of the ordinance on October 8th. If the Board votes to adopt the ordinance, it would become effective 30 days later on November 8th.
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