In a city council meeting on Tuesday, Santa Clara mayor Lisa Gillmor issued an ultimatum: the 49ers must hand over their financial records to city auditors, or she will take over management of Levi’s Stadium. Gillmor believes that the team, which has been asking for a $5 million reduction in rent for forty years, is not being forthcoming with the city about how much revenue they are pulling in.
Roger Hacker, director of corporate communications for the 49ers, insists that the team has been accommodating with the necessary records, providing copies of some and inviting auditors to their corporate office to view more confidential materials.
49ers spokesperson Bob Lange told CBS that the team extended the invitation to the city a month ago. According to Lange, it is not in the best interest of either the team or the city to release copies of all financial documentation. “If this information were to become part of the public domain, promoters and event planners would have the upper hand in negotiations, because they would know the true budget of these events,” Lange said.
However, mayor Gillmor sees this as a “diversionary tactic.” She believes that Levi’s Stadium, which is publicly owned, has no right to keep confidential its operating costs and procedures. “What we want to know is, what are the expenses and revenues that should be flowing to the city of Santa Clara,” she said.
Lange thinks Gillmor is being short-sighted with her campaign to besmirch 49ers management in the public eye. The publicity, he says, is harmful to the city as well as the team, as event planners will likely forego the stadium if they perceive the management to be unstable. “It shouldn’t have gotten to the point where it’s constantly being debated in the media,” he said.
And Roger Hacker says the mayor does not actually have the authority to take control of the stadium. “Contrary to the Mayor’s recent statements to the press, she has no right to terminate the 49ers as manager of Levi’s Stadium. Her unjustified threat to remove the 49ers has unnecessarily created a fear of job loss in the many employees who have worked so hard on behalf of the Stadium Authority to make Levi’s Stadium so successful in such a short time,” he said.
Despite his claim, Gillmor has given the 49ers one week to hand over all documentation before she goes ahead with plans to remove them from management.