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Measure J Audit Finally Finished, But City Hall Says It’s Confidential

After more than a year, Harvey Rose Associates (HRA) has finally reported the results of the management consulting company’s review of Santa Clara’s compliance with Measure J, the ordinance governing the construction and operation of Levi’s Stadium. A draft report of the audit has been circulating around City Hall since last week.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor told the San Francisco Chronicle last Friday about the report, “suggesting,” the Chronicle wrote, “it would show violations of the 2010 ballot measure’s prohibition on the tapping of City’s general fund for the stadium.” The City Manager’s office confirmed that the draft report is under review, but says its contents are confidential.

On Monday the Weekly requested comment from the Mayor. At Tuesday’s Council meeting, the Mayor announced the audit draft report has been received.

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The findings, according to sources who have seen the draft, indicate that the City failed to invoice the 49ers for some $500,000 in costs during the three years the stadium has been open, due to what are reportedly being called administrative errors.

From what the Weekly knows, there’s no dispute about the 49ers paying the bills they have received.

The final report was supposed to be complete last December, but HRA claimed in their activity reports and at meetings that they were denied access to records about stadium expenses they needed. The records they wanted are the contracts between the 49ers stadium management company and promoters of non-NFL events.

The 49ers invited HRA and the Council to come to their offices to review anything they wanted, but refused to deliver copies to City Hall where the details of confidential business negotiations could be leaked to competitors.

Levi’s Stadium has directly delivered about $3 million a year to Santa Clara’s general fund, according to City financial reports. That number doesn’t include additional sales tax revenue and roughly $2 million in additional property tax from the stadium. Reimbursed expenses have run about $5 million annually, and are largely public safety costs.

The City has spent $180,000 so far on the Measure J review, with $200,000 budgeted.

This story is still developing. Some of the questions we’ll be asking in coming weeks include: When will the audit draft report be made public? What data will the audit have to support its findings? Why did it cost the City $180,000 for outside consulting to find what sources say are internal billing errors? Is the Council competent to operate a stadium or does the Santa Clara Stadium Authority need a professional management board?

We will publish an update once more information becomes available.

To share your thoughts about this, please email your letter to scweekly@ix.netcom.com for publication. Please include your name and phone number with your submission—phone numbers will not be published. Letters to the Editor should be limited to 150 words.

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