The squabble between Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor and the owners of the San Francisco 49ers over whose money is being spent on what at Levi’s Stadium heated up considerably on Friday, when Gillmor declared that if the 49ers don’t cough up more budget documents, she’ll move to take over management of the stadium:
“We have to stop the bleeding of the General Fund money into the stadium,” she said. “It’s against the law.”
According to Gillmor, city leaders are prepared to manage Levi’s Stadium if the 49ers don’t comply with their current contract with Santa Clara.
“If they don’t cure the breach, we are going to take steps to take back management of the stadium,” she said.
The argument here, as I understand it, is that the 49ers’ contract requires them to itemize spending of city dollars (one possible misuse of public funds was for reseeding the famously problematic field, according to an audit presented to the city on Thursday), so if they don’t provide the documents, they’re in breach of contract, and Santa Clara can take over management of the stadium. That doesn’t seem likely to happen — 49ers execs said they’d provide the missing budget documents by today — but it’s certainly an interesting way to force more transparency. The real test will come if those documents show questionable uses of city funds, and Gillmor demands that they be repaid by the team; stay tuned for much more bookkeeping excitement, I’m sure.