Santa Clara declares 49ers in breach of lease, threatens to seize stadium three days before Xmas

The city of Santa Clara’s showdown with the San Francisco 49ers over handing over budget documents to show who’s spending what on running the place got kicked up a notch before Thanksgiving, with the city council voting to find the team in violation of its lease, a move that could lead the city to seize operational control of the stadium if the Niners owners don’t cough up the documents by December 22:

“We hired ManCo. They work for us. They don’t get to decide what is withheld from the owners of the stadium,” [Santa Clara Mayor Lisa] Gillmor said. “How do we know we are managing this public asset in the proper manner if we cannot get the documents from the management company that we hired to manage the stadium?”

Representatives for the 49ers countered that the team has been giving the city regular reports and has lived up to its end of the deal. They said the team is withholding information in two areas it considers confidential: security plans and financial information related to non-NFL events.

Making security information available would put the public at risk, while disclosing the details of the non-NFL events would damage ManCo’s ability to effectively negotiate with promoters such as LiveNation and AEG Live, the team says.

This is a weird dispute to crop up just two years into a team’s move to a new city, needless to say, though Gillmor and friends have a point that it’s hard to determine revenue-sharing shares when your partner won’t fess up to what their total revenues are. That it’s coming up now seems to come down to a bunch of factors: new city officials elected since the stadium project was approved who are less starry-eyed about the arrival of the NFL; a crappily written lease that didn’t specify what documents the 49ers would turn over or how the city would audit their finances; and a team that’s so dismal on the field that even 49ers fans are probably happy (or indifferent) enough for the city to take them to task. (“The 49ers are broken all around the place,” resident Dorothy Rosa told last week’s council hearing. “They don’t know how to run a football team. They don’t know how to run anything.”)

And speaking of the Niners’ on-field woes, the terrible team continues to be terrible news for people who bought the high-priced personal seat licenses that helped fund the new Santa Clara stadium, only to find themselves forced to choose between paying through the nose for near-worthless tickets every year or unloading their PSLs at a huge loss:

[Tom] Addison wanted out after the 2015 season. He wanted to sell what the team called his Stadium Builder Licenses so he did not have to keep spending $5,000 annually for four season tickets in the corner of an end zone, a requirement to maintain the licenses.

He was able to sell all four on the secondary market, but at $2,000 apiece after dropping his asking price, and recouped only $8,000 of the original $20,000 investment. The alternative would have been walking away from the licenses and getting none of the money back.

“I was relieved to get rid of them,” Addison said in the dining room of his Burlingame home. “I was so happy when the guy wanted to buy all four. I was happy to get out.”

Which, you know, there’s that thing that P.T. Barnum never said about suckers — plus, about half of the PSLs were bought up by ticket brokers, who will just write this off as a bad bet. Still, with things so bad that 6% of all PSL holders have just defaulted on their annual payments and walked away with nothing rather than have to keep plunking down money for tickets every year, you have to wonder how eager, say, Los Angeles Rams fans will be to put down cash for PSLs once those go on sale next year.

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6 comments on “Santa Clara declares 49ers in breach of lease, threatens to seize stadium three days before Xmas

  1. This should be fun to watch. We’ve got a new sheriff in town asking questions, a quasi-public agency that is controlled by the city council, the shifty Niners who don’t need anymore bad press but will horde their riches to the last breath and “ManCo” (can’t get over that name) run by those same scoundrels.

    One hot mess and a stand off at the Not-so-OK corral.

  2. York & his Matadors … Should be pretty darn easy … The management agreement specifically says that ManCo will present all the documents for the Stadium Authority’s review and approval. Guess the Niners believe they don’t have to follow the rules. They are the hired help! They are NOT the boss, the work for the people of Santa Clara who own the stadium … You losers only lease it. If you want to call the plays — buy the stadium, until then, follow the direction of your landlord or start packing.

  3. Clarification on this statement: “new city officials elected since the stadium project was approved who are less starry-eyed about the arrival of the NFL”

    Note that Mayor Lisa Gilmor was a Santa Clara councilmember for 8 years, then went off of council and was the leader of the 49ers stadium ballot measure group Santa Clarans for Economic Progress, funded to the tune of $5 million by the 49ers to get the stadium ballot measure to pass. She was a huge starry-eyed shill for the stadium. She then was appointed to council to fill a vacant seat, and later appointed as mayor when our Mayor Jamie Mathews abruptly quit the day after the Feb. 2016 Superbowl. Also note that council member Kathy Watanabe was also a huge starry-eyed shill for the stadium during the ballot measure, appearing in stadium ballot measure ads and shilling for the stadium at public meetings. She was fairly recently appointed to council to fill a vacant seat after Lisa Gilmor moved from her council seat to the mayor’s seat.
    (Watanabe was just elected Nov 2016).

    So there are people here who were in favor of the stadium and now recognize the problems associated with the stadium. I’m glad we have 4 council members now who are sticking up for the citizens of Santa Clara (unlike Pat Kolstad and Dominic Caserta on our council.) But please note that some of these individuals on council bear much responsibility for getting our city into this situation in the first place.

    Please also note that there was a lot of what has been called ‘dark money’ flowing in the campaigns to unseat the council members who do not vote in favor of whatever the 49ers want. The dark money didn’t work this time. People are still digging to uncover the sources of the ‘dark money’.

  4. I think they should demolish the SBL unfair to the people that they can’t do it right let the 49ers pay for their own stadium if they have to pay for it themselves maybe they will get it right York got on TV and see if they got it wrong while he still got it wrong sound like to me they got a big mess going on with my expense

  5. I will be joining the 6% who have walked away from their SBLs when the 2017
    bill comes due. This organization is so screwed up that they never will have the chutzpah or balls to force payment from any of us. Looks like Eddie D should have stayed away from Edwin Edwards and put out a contract on his
    Gen-X asshole nephew.

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