Keeping secrets might not be easy for everyone. However, when a confidential document that can potentially ruin a huge City money-maker–like Levi’s Stadium–lands on your desk, it’s best that it stay there.
The now infamous confidential Measure J Draft Audit slipped out of someone’s hands and into the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The report was completed sometime in May and on May 31 Mayor Lisa Gillmor had a private meeting with the Chronicle’s Editorial Board, according to the newspaper’s own reporting. Right after the meeting Gillmor jumped onto a Facebook Live video with the editorial page editor and made claims that the report would show clear violations of Measure J and correcting them would put money back into the general fund.
It’s pretty suspicious that 13 days after Mayor Gillmor’s private meeting, the Chronicle reports that it has possession of the confidential 169 page report and reveals its contents in detail. And since most City Council Members say they haven’t seen the draft, the list of who could have put the document in the way of being found by the Chronicle is short.
It looks like the 49ers had a premonition. They knew what they were doing when they stood their ground and didn’t allow Harvey M. Rose Associates’ (HMR) consultants to make copies or take important non-NFL event contracts from the 49ers’ office–a detail HMR and the Mayor have continually complained about.
These contracts hold confidential information regarding deals between the stadium and clients who rent the venue–from Beyonce to a wedding fair.
If those contracts had been included in the now-leaked audit, Santa Clara would have lost its competitive edge when booking events at Levi’s Stadium; perhaps causing the stadium–and the City–to lose out on the hefty revenue non-NFL events bring. Suppose band A found out they were receiving less for their upcoming concert than band B?
No wonder the 49ers were so cautious. With some City leaders being as leaky as old pipes, there would be no security for important business documents.
This report is supposed to be so secret that the Weekly has attempted to get responses–including the 49ers’–to it, but were told that those documents are also confidential because they reference the report. That seems like closing the barn door after the horse is out.
This isn’t the first time the Santa Clara City Council has allowed confidential information to leak. In 2015 and 2016 a personnel report concerning the City Manager was leaked to San José Inside and the Mercury News. Thanks to “a source familiar with the report’s details, delivered in closed session last week,” people could read all about the investigation at San Jose Inside.
If the Stadium Authority/City Council can’t keep tabs on a document worth $200,000 of Santa Clara taxpayer money, then perhaps it is not competent to run a big business like Levi’s Stadium?
Gillmor has stated in another Facebook Live video that there will be a Measure J Audit Part 2 and also stated that the audit will be on the July 11 City Council Agenda.
How much more will this new audit cost Santa Clarans–in consultants’ fees and future stadium revenue?
And will those new documents be leak-proof?
Note: The Weekly did not have possession of the full draft audit until after the Chronicle story was published on June 12, 2017.
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