Last year the City of Santa Clara signed a $179,000 contract with Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. “for Engagement of Stakeholders and Development Plan for New Operation Model for Santa Clara Convention Center and Convention – Visitors Bureau,” according to the April 18, 2017 City Council meeting agenda. JLL’s consultant on the job in Santa Clara is Dan Fenton.
If the name Dan Fenton sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the guy who had to resign in disgrace in 2010 from his dual posts as Team San José (TSJ) CEO and San José Convention Center Manager following multiple scathing Grand Jury investigations and city audits.
The investigations chronicled mismanagement, lax financial practices, backroom and sweetheart deals and self-dealing that cost San José taxpayers $20 million over five years of Fenton’s leadership. The reports laid many of these problems at Fenton’s door, noting that many resulted from his decisions, often made without consultation with the Team San José board.
During his tenure San José lost almost $1 million from concerts as well as a 5,000 person eBay dinner—which moved to the Santa Clara Convention Center, bringing with it $250,000 in revenue to Santa Clara.
For this Fenton was paid $362,000 plus benefits, perks and bonuses.
Both the grand jury reports and San José’s audits highlighted Fenton’s lack of relevant experience “[TSJ] does not have an on-site, experienced CEO, who is dedicated exclusively to the management of the Convention and Cultural Facilities,” the San José auditor wrote in a 2006 report.
The Grand Jury said that TSJ and its CEO did “not have previous experience in the management and operations of similar convention and cultural facilities.” Further both the audits and the grand jury investigations noted that Fenton’s “dual and triple roles” was “fraught with problems” caused by “insufficient checks and balances.”
Fenton claims on his LinkedIn page that he “spent the better part of 20 years as the chief executive officer of Team San Jose, a management company based in San Jose, California.” Fenton joined San José in 1996 and Team San José was formed in 2005. Prior to his engagement with San José, Fenton was VP Operations for Radisson Plaza Hotel, according to his resume.