Santa Clara and the 49ers Reach Settlement of Lawsuits: Team Will Manage Levi’s Stadium

The city of Santa Clara and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority reached a settlement agreement with the San Francisco 49ers companies that manage Levi’s Stadium Wednesday afternoon, affirming the team as managers of the city-owned facility.

The settlement, which ends five years of legal battles between the city and the National Football League team over management of the stadium, requires the Forty Niners SC Stadium Company and its stadium management firm to pay the city $1,675,000.

The 49ers stadium management also agreed in the settlement to transfer $650,000 from the stadium’s discretionary fund to the city’s general fund, as well as an additional $650,000 from the stadium authority’s discretionary fund to the authority’s operating fund. The 49ers will also waive $350,000 in accrued interest and pay the city $2 million for public safety costs.

In return, the city dropped its proposed termination of the 49ers contract to manage the stadium, which is a venue for concerts as well as professional football.

The announcement came one day after a closed-door executive session of the Santa Clara City Council produced a “no reportable action” statement by the city attorney.

The settlement followed a week in which the 49ers sweetened a settlement offer, and in the midst of a re-election campaign by Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor, who is being challenged by Councilmember Anthony Becker. Gillmor had opposed settlement of the 49ers lawsuits, a move supported by Becker and a council majority.

The settlement agreement “represents the beginning of a renewed partnership between the 49ers and the City of Santa Clara,” said 49ers spokesman Rahul Chandhok. “We’re pleased to put this fight behind us for the benefit of Santa Clara’s residents and the stakeholders who rely on Levi’s Stadium for jobs, revenue, and entertainment.”

The agreement reinstates the city stadium authority’s ability to sign contracts under $100,000.

The city agreed that it will defer to the 49ers any claims by any party that workers were not paid prevailing state wages, and the 49ers will assume any liabilities from those claims. The city and stadium authority had accused the 49ers of “wage theft” in previous court filings and public statements. The stadium authority agreed that it will work with the 49ers stadium management to defend it against any wage claims.

In the settlement, the 49ers agreed to comply with all applicable conflict of interest laws.

The 49ers agreed that “when booking, selecting, and negotiating contracts for non-NFL events, it shall maximize stadium revenues, and focus on and emphasize [stadium authority] revenues, and: it shall not prioritize …net revenues from that event over [stadium authority) net revenues.”

The settlement agreement dismisses 2017 and 2019 lawsuits in Santa Clara Superior Court as well as the current arbitration proceedings, with each side agreeing to bear its own court costs and legal fees.

And, as part of the agreement, both sides “continue to deny all liability, fault or responsibility for the matters being settled by this agreement.”

The agreement was signed by:

Peter Wilhelm, chief financial officer, Forty Niners SC Stadium Company LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, also as chief financial officer, Forty Niners Stadium Management Company, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and by Rajeev Batra, city manager and executive director, Santa Clara Stadium Authority.

The attached form was approved by:

Charmaine Yu, Coblenz Patch Duffy and Bass, LLP, San Francisco, attorney for the Forty Niners SC Stadium Company, LLC and Forty Niners SC Stadium Management Company LLC, and by Mohammad Walizadeh, Hanson Bridgett LLP, San Francisco, attorney for City of Santa Clara and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, and James Sanchez, city attorney and interim counsel for the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.

 

Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with Weeklys Publishing since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.

10 Comments

  1. I don’t see any mention of any new oversight or auditing of the 49ers management. Just a quotation of principles that they say they’re going to follow. How do we know if they will?

    This piece is an op-ed in disguise. And what a gullible one it is. Zero questioning if the 49ers’ “best and final offer” was actually best and final. Even though they already called a prior offer “best and final,” until it was increased.

    The relief and satisfaction of the 49ers is clear in Chandhok’s statement. So glad they can go back to shortchanging Santa Clara. So glad to have a City Council that rubber stamps this.

    And so glad to have local press like San Jose Inside that writes propaganda for those with the most money and power.

  2. There’s also no mention of Council member Becker’s outburst, complete with cussing, that prompted a call to police. One might think -that- would be newsworthy.

  3. What is newsworthy is the months of insults and hatred towards Lisa Gillmor and Kathy Watanabe by Suds Jain, Anthony Becker, and Kevin Park. Becker now has his campaign treasurer file a dozen cpras on Gillmor. Jain shopped around an op ed piece opposing being subject to the public records act, signed into law in 1968!

    67 secret meetings held with the 49ers by Jain along with Becker and Park.

    Jay Reed who was exposed by San Jose Inside writing texts about sex was hired by Park and Reed was sent by Park to get money from the 49ers for personal expenses. Reed has been charging school districts 10 grand a month for reviewing high school newspapers. Look it up.

    Gillmor was wrong to oppose district elections. But the 49ers spent 5 million to elecr Park, Jain, Becker. Ok 49ers claim money was independent just for diversiy. Ok

    Ok

    On December 5 2020 Suds Jain contacts the 49ers. For diversity, right???

    No
    Jain wants to talk stadium. Huh??

    He initiates 67 meetings in private with 49ers with Park and Becker.

    Staff not invited.

    Jain then attacks cpra requests about secret meetings. Jain begins talking snapshots if Gillmor sharing them with Becker. Then Gillmor gets 34 cpras about her business from, guess who, 49ers.

    Jain then gets texts from a constituent
    Fire doyle. Fire santana. Approve flavored tobacco, gillmor is evil

    Who wrote the texts

    DOMINIC CASERTA

    San Jose remembers him

    Jain agrees to check with staff about flavored tobacco.

    Number one cancer issue for young minorities.

    Becker begins to berate people, park gets 5 fppc complaints

    Becker pokes fun with jain about gillmor and watanabe buying donuts for first responders, the clothing they wear

    No surprise Becker had an episode.

  4. Good. And for the mental-midgets perusing this and other sites to simply bash the 49ers, let me make it simple for you to understand the agreement and calm the heck down…

    1. The City of Santa Clara as a whole – not just some city council members – have agreed to let the 49ers manage all stadium events.
    2. The 49ers are not responsible for the City of Santa Clara’s mounting budget deficit.
    3. It took the firing of ex-city manager, Deanna Santana, and ex-city attorney, Brian Doyle, for progress to be made.

    Residents in the City of Santa Clara should vote Becker as their next mayor.

  5. This piece provides more substance regarding the details of the agreement than similar pieces in San Jose Spotlight (https://sanjosespotlight.com/touchdown-santa-clara-settles-lawsuit-with-san-francisco-sf-49ers-nfl-football-team-levis-stadium/) and the San Francisco Chronicle (https://www.sfchronicle.com/sports/49ers/article/49ers-Santa-Clara-settle-lawsuits-over-Levi-s-17410765.php). But none of these pieces provides estimates as to what the City of Santa Clara could have won in their counter-suit against the 49ers had the eight cases been fully litigated in the courts or, alternatively, what the 49ers would have gained from judgements in their favor. Like all business decision-making, Jed York and the 49ers have made calculated bets on the 2016 and 2020 municipal elections that have paid off with an amenable majority on the council. York fully expects to produce yields that will dwarf his initial “investments.” You can take that to the bank.

    For those who have the time and interest, the presentation by former (fired) City Attorney Brian Doyle at the 29 September 2020 Council meeting–prior to the “pro-49er” assumption of power–lays out the details of the 49ers multiple lawsuits against the City and their potential fiscal and governance impacts (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT4ySOYG-NI&t=21005s starting at 5:22:00).

  6. The biggest prize of the settlement seems to be no longer contesting the 49ers management of the stadium without any firm requirements for sharing open records that I have seen. So now there is no way to determine if the 49ers were cheating the city for years and seems to be no way to prevent them from cheating the city for decades into the future.

    The 49ers are paying the city to settle the case. Settlements are offered when someone is afraid they might have to pay much more if the case goes to trial. Or because they are afraid of having to provide records in discovery.

    The city and the 49ers had not even gone to nonbinding mediation yet. There was a lot of time to demand a better settlement and agree to it. Why was this city council in such a rush to approve such an early settlement offer?

  7. Salem is actually pretty smart. Analysis was very bright. The settlement may helo Lisa

    Settlement closes issue. Pretty sure lisa lives in becker district. Say becker wins. Vacancy.

    Lisa runs

    Now Mayor Becker has lisa on council

    Easier to be a thorn in becker side as a council member

  8. September 2

    Voting may begin October 10

    So in two weeks the 49ers have organize a 2 million campaign for Becker.

    Yeah right

    For a guy who screamed at a woman and used obscene gestures.

    Who spent money from his campaign on nacho dorritos and candy bars.

    49ers a candidate from a quarter vending machine

  9. Buchser Alum is precisely right, as usual. I should have mentioned this very important outcome. Nothing we have seen in the reporting indicates that the 49er organization is required to be transparent about how it is managing the stadium and, more importantly, how it is managing and accounting for revenues generated. If it is left to the city’s Stadium Authority–the body that supposedly governs all things having to do with the stadium–transparency may not be achieved given that the membership of the Stadium Authority is precisely the city council members plus the city manager, the majority of whom are now effectively colluding with the 49ers. The 49ers up to now have never had their books audited or even provided a full accounting of revenues and costs. Without transparency and, above all, continuous and robust enforcement, there will be millions in revenue “leakage” and/or the 49ers shifting costs onto the Stadium Authority’s.

  10. So, how much extra money has the stadium provided for the schools? I mean that was a major selling point for it—was it not?

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