Santa Clara Wants to Revoke 49ers’ Authority Over Non-Football Events at Levi’s

A drawn-out war between Santa Clara and the 49ers culminated this week with the city threatening to nix the team’s contract to host non-NFL events at Levi’s Stadium.

In a Wednesday morning press release, the city lobbed a host of allegations against the football team, accusing it of fraud, wage theft and flouting conflict-of-interest laws. All that, along with “mismanaged operations,” according to the statement, resulted “in declining non-NFL net revenues.”

In other words, the city hasn’t been getting its cut.

The city owns the venue and leases it to the Niners. Per the agreement, the team—in addition to playing football at the stadium—operates the property year-round, hosting concerts and other events that generate revenue for both the NFL and the city.

Net revenues from non-NFL events have reportedly declined from $6.1 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year to $18,591 for the following budget cycle. According to the city, the 49ers told the media earlier this year that they project no revenue at all for the city in the budget cycle ending in June 2020.

“When the 49ers signed on to become the stadium manager for Levi’s Stadium, they represented possessing ‘substantial experience and expertise’ to manage the stadium on behalf of a public entity,” Mayor Lisa Gillmor said in a written statement. “In the years since, their lack of the compliance, transparency and accountability expected of managers of a publicly owned facility has made it abundantly clear that this is not the case.”

So, on Tuesday, the City Council—by way of a distinct legal entity called the Santa Clara Stadium Authority—voted 6-0 to withdraw management responsibilities from the team.

“Not only are the 49ers demonstrated that they are unqualified for the role, they have engaged in egregious state law violations that have put the Stadium Authority in an untenable position,” Gillmor declared after the vote.

At the same meeting, the Stadium Authority voted to change the Niners’ procurement powers. Previously, the NFL team could charge items and services up to $250,000 without prior approval from the city. The new rule will come back to the board Oct. 8 and if approved, will take effect 30 days later, after which the 49ers will have to get approval from the Stadium Authority for those big-dollar contracts.

“This proposed change is to provide the public with assurance that public dollars are being spent correctly after it became known the the 49ers did not have expertise in public management and that they had been refusing to provide the Authority with its own financial records,” the city explained in its press release.

In news reports, the NFL franchise shot back, saying it would appeal the contract termination. “The city’s legal case, such as it is, is in direct violation of the clear language of the relevant contracts,” Niners spokesman Rahul Chandhok told the Merc. “We are entirely confident that we will prevail in this dispute.”


  1. Can we begin with the basic premise that the 49ers took all the goodwill they earned from the City of Santa Clara and lit it on fire in a form of psychotic Burning Man attitude that demonstrates that Rahul and cohorts in community affairs are completely stupid. Not since the birth of the Iraq Resistance movement have we witnessed a complete level of incompetence. There are people advised Santa Clara’s elected leaders who are dishonest, corrupt and vile. That is where we are. Both sides have unraveled the trust earned in 2010. The stadium is on the wrong site, due to one City Manager’s pandering to Great America, and now the city and the stadium are two scorpions trapped in a bottle. It is both of their faults. Do I think the 49ers should manage concerts? No. But how do we get there? Through complete unethical conduct. Beginning with Jamie Matthews who swore before 100 virgins in white he would not even go near the Super Bowl, and he was seen slipping in and out and resigning the next day. Julio Fuentes who was City Manager who attempted to overrule the City Council time and time again. Then we witnesses a plethora of self published memoirs on this blog and within self printed books of people who lied, lied, and lied more over their role. Mathews ran out of town under cover of suspicion after rewarding some bloated moron with Wrestlemania, while grabbing a first class trip to get it.

    The months involving to disaster involving the Youth Soccer Park is next. Rahul lied, lied, and lied, and tried to bully Lisa Gillmor with an assertion she was irrelevant. A bunch of soccer kids on You Tube effectively humiliated and defeated York. At the point, York and Rahul could have come to Gillmor and company and made peace. They could have insisted they be treated with respect, and would have been right to do so, after all Gillmor was the principal leader of the campaign, both York and Rahul could have insisted using that point. But both acted with stupidity and once again tried to bully Lisa Gillmor. At the same time, the Related Project developed. Related hired a mongoose to be their lobbyist. This made matters worse, but if the 2016 election had been free of problems, the people could have decided. But then in a blazing act of stupidity, psychotic egoism, Rich Robinson came up with the Blupac affair. It was a version of the Gang who Could Shoot Straight, and linked the 49ers to campaign shenanigans forever destroying their reputation. It not only did not defeat Gillmor, who was not even on the ballot, it made her stronger.

    The election of a trio of irresponsible buffoons did not help the situation. But Robinson, who is now defending Laurie Smith and her gun permits for sale operation is to blame. The 49ers were linked to this, because Robinson whose ego is as wide as his waist size claimed to be the 49ears henchman. The stadium was his idea. So the public made the connection.

    Now comes years of acrimony and complete distrust over concerts. Right now if Trump would promise to build a wall around Levi’s, he would be popular in Santa Clara. Perhaps the team should get out of the concert business, but the City Council has to come to grips with the fact that concerts should go on, and that some of their advisors are slimebuckets. It is obvious that Gillmor is right, absolutely right. But in loading up all of the hate and frustration on the 49ers and rewarding people with hidden agendas, will backfire. The neighborhoods deserve a quiet life, but the people bought a stadium, not a pizza garden.

  2. > Santa Clara Wants to Revoke 49ers’ Authority Over Non-Football Events at Levi’s

    What if Colin Kaepernick wants to kneel during the national anthem at a monster truck rally?

    Isn’t that a violation of Kaepernick’s free speech rights?

  3. The same current elected officials that are going after the stadium are the ones who actually brought the stadium here.

    Our city signed the deal, the majority of the current council supported it, I even voted for it at the polls. But now when things go wrong, city leaders point the fingers to the 49ers. maybe they are not following the rules but Santa Clara officials signed off on it and current Mayor gave her stamp of approval 9 years ago. Read THIS (

    It’s almost as if the plan of the current administration (minus 3 current councilmembers… 2 new council members and one that still supports it and was there as well for measure J) was to bring in a stadium to create a problem at taxpayers cost then years later switch sides and act as a hero against the billion dollar corporation the 49ers. This is definitions of Shills.

    Mayor Gillmor was recently quoted on the 49ers, “We can’t in good faith to continue to give them money with no accountability, transparency or compliance with our management agreement”.

    Hearing this quote from the Mayor is hypocritical because myself and others can no longer trust the city to make these tough decisions with so much taxpayer money on the line. These decisions made in the past are costing the city a lot today and one cannot stand by watch these things happen without accountability. Recently the Grand Jury scolded the city for its record keeping, so it’s really hard to believe the Mayor and Co. and take them seriously when the city can’t practice what they preach.

    The links below are clips to the Yes on Measure J campaign conducted in accordance with Santa Clarans For Economic Progress in which current Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor was on. Herself and current councilmembers Davis and Watanabe as well campaigned hard for Measure J in 2010 (before they were on the council) Everyone of them say, “it won’t cost a dime and a major benefit to the community”. It wont cause any problems they felt. Boy oh boy they were wrong !

    1. The Truth about Measure J

    2. Two current councilmembers approval debi and Kathy

    3. Current Mayor of Santa Clara 9 years ago



    5. Former mayor Jamie Matthews

    6. Former Councilmembers Jamie McCloud, Will Kennedy

    7. how to hijack a ballot measure

    8. Former councilmember Jamie McCloud on the stadium in 2010

  4. What ever happened to the Montana project and why is Related California attacking the stadium when its lobbyists made money on the stadium campaign, or was it not enough money?

  5. I disagree with the previous poster’s diatribe about Lisa Gillmor as he fails to disclose he ran against her for mayor. There are plenty of dirty hands in this mess. Kathy Watanabe loves to post on Facebook about how much she enjoys a cold brew at Levi’s but on Tuesday night she screams how shocked she is that there is drinking going on at the game. Debi Davis campaigned hard against the stadium and even tried to insist her opponent had a cellphone from the 49ers, of from the Russian, or from Ihlan Omar. Debi gets them all jumbled. However, in her first campaign she was posing with Sourdough Sam and talking how much she earned from rotten Chamber. One of the biggest villains in all is this Rahul, the most incompetent NFL executive in NFL history. He single handily destroyed the stadium’s reputation. I honestly believe Lisa Gillmor is convinced, and rightly so that the 49ers are cheating the city. I think she is absolutely right. However, I do feel some of Lisa’s of associates have hidden agendas and directly misled and cheated some people who attempted to provided Lisa with key information. This mess was started when Jamie Matthews resigned. He lied to the people about attending the Super Bowl and insisted in having first class accommodations to get Wrestlemania which rewarded one of the most dishonest players in this game. The other people like Rich Robinson who claimed to be the architect of Measure J, which was false, initiated the Blupac affair which was one of the most moronic episodes in local politics. No reason for stadium opponents not to blame the 49ers for Blupac after Robinson, who self proclaimed his relationship with the Niners and with another scoundrel, was the architect of Blupac which destroyed the Niners reputation. I fully support Mayor Gillmor in her efforts to the city’s fair share, but no one shares the belief there are not self-published wackos involved in this. Time for it end with both sides getting what they need, full disclosure.

  6. Why the heck municipalities ever get involved with sports teams, or their big-bucks stadiums, I’ll never know. It never turns into a sweet deal, and it just causes headaches for the city, and usually its taxpayers too.

    Weren’t the Santa Clara officials around when Al Davis took Alameda County to the cleaners when he brought his losing Raiders back to Oakland. IIRC, Alameda County taxpayers are _still_ paying for that.

  7. Lisa G deserves a lot of blame for what is happening now. She relentlessly promoted the stadium measure J “all that money” and ignored the sordid history of stadium deals from countless other cities including one 40 miles up the road.

    This was all very foreseeable and the people who spoke the truth and said don’t get involved with this were smeared and shouted down as Nimbys.

    The council got excited about the stadium because they were old enough to remember the excitement the team generated in the 80s glory days. That’s past and times have changed. People in the valley just aren’t that connected to football any longer.

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