A dispute between Santa Clara and the San Francisco 49ers erupted again this week when the city’s mayor threatened to revoke the team’s control of Levi’s Stadium.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor accused the 49ers of violating a voter-approved management agreement by spending taxpayer money to run the $1 billion venue. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, she demanded that the team disclose financial records to auditors. Failure to comply, Gillmor said, would breach the lease agreement and prompt the city to take over facility management.
The 49ers shot back, casting Gillmor’s demands as part of a “campaign of misinformation and headline-grabbing accusations.” A statement from the team said the city doesn’t even have the authority to wrest control away.
“Contrary to these rumors and reports, the 49ers have not breached any agreements with the city. Rather, Levi’s Stadium, under 49ers management, has proven to be a tremendous economic and cultural asset not only to the city but also the entire region, while returning millions of dollars of revenue to Santa Clara.”
The 49ers’ statement added that the mayor’s allegations damage the stadium’s reputation and threaten the livelihoods of the people who work there.
“Until recently, we have remained largely silent, hoping our performance would speak for itself. The mayor fails to recognize that her unfounded accusations are harmful to her city and constituents. It is they who stand to lose revenues if promoters and event planners believe there is instability in the management of Levi’s Stadium.”
The dispute stems from a dispute over a soccer field next to the stadium, as well as the team’s attempts to negotiate a lower rent payment. Gillmor asked to review financial records before agreeing to a multimillion-dollar adjustment. The team refused, claiming the information requested is confidential and that public disclosure would cut into its bottom line.
The mayor said she believes the real reason the team won’t release the information is because it doesn’t want the city to find out how much money it’s making. At Tuesday’s council meeting, Gillmor called on the team to produce those documents within a week.