The battle over who has the right to manage what happens at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium has taken another turn. In a closed session on Tuesday night, the City Council voted unanimously to terminate the stadium management agreement with the Forty Niners Stadium Management Company, LLC “in its entirety.” That includes NFL games.
“The Council’s latest authorization to terminate the entire management agreement is over additional legal concerns concerning the Forty Niners’ apparent mismanagement of the publicly-owned facility and potential self-dealing,” said Santa Clara’s Director of Communications Lenka Wright in a press release.
The statement did not cite examples of the potential self-dealing.
The 49ers have an entirely different take, saying the vote is based on the team’s decision to join the No on C campaign earlier this month.
“We should all be troubled that this vote comes clearly as an act of retaliation after it became public that the 49ers would join civil rights leaders to defeat Measure C,” said Rahul Chandhok, the 49ers Vice President of Public Affairs and Strategic Communications. “Now more than ever, we will not be intimidated and Santa Clara will not be intimidated in our fight to defeat the anti-democratic Measure C.”
Measure C is the ballot measure that would amend the City Charter to establish six districts in 2020 with one council member representing each district. This is the same way council members were elected in 2018. However, in 2022, the voting process would change to establish three districts and two council members would be elected to represent each district.
Critics say Measure C will keep power in the hands of the few and take away the voting power of minority communities within Santa Clara.
City officials say the new election process was the result of a public process conducted by the Charter Review Committee, a committee created to come up with a process for electing council members.
Wright denied the accusation that the City based its decision to terminate the contract on the 49ers decision to oppose Measure C.
“That’s nonsense. The ballot measure is a separate issue from stadium management,” said Wright. “The Council voted unanimously to terminate the stadium management agreement. City leaders are happy that the voters now know that the billionaire owners of the 49ers are trying to buy an election.”
“The City’s latest announcement is just another step in a self-destructive process they began years ago as part of a petty political vendetta. All of those efforts failed, just as this latest attempt will also fail,” said Chandhok.
When it comes to the management of Levi’s Stadium, a vote is just a vote for the moment. Things will remain status quo until there is a ruling in the lawsuit the Forty Niners Stadium Management Company filed in September 2019. The suit was filed when the City first began the process of terminating the 49ers stadium management rights.
As of now, there is no sign of when the lawsuit will be heard, but the 49ers say this latest move by Santa Clara’s City Council will not affect the way events at the stadium are managed.
“The 49ers Management Company will continue to manage Levi’s Stadium and attract the most celebrated events in the world to the Bay Area,” promised Chandhok.
When asked what the City hopes to gain by terminating the 49ers stadium management rights, Wright responded, “We must end the Forty Niners’ corrupt management of the stadium and put in a new operator that Santa Clarans can trust.”