Update: City of Santa Clara spokesperson Michelle Templeton replied to The Weekly after publication with the following comment: “Consistent with the resolution of the litigation, the 49ers have developed practices to provide more transparency with the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, comply with contractual and legal obligations, and have agreed to greater operational efficiencies. In addition, the 49ers have agreed to monetary terms.”
You can find the complete settlement agreement in the following link: 49ers City of Santa Clara Settlement Agreement.
Much of the legal back and forth between the City of Santa Clara and the 49ers is now in the past.
In closed session on Aug. 30, the City Council considered the “best and final” settlement offer from the 49ers. The Council countered again, a counter which was accepted by the 49ers on Aug. 31.
“Today’s agreement represents the beginning of a renewed partnership between the 49ers and the City of Santa Clara,” said 49ers Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer Rahul Chandhok shortly after the deal was done. “We’re pleased to put this fight behind us for the benefit of Santa Clara’s residents and the stakeholders who rely on Levi’s Stadium for jobs, revenue, and entertainment.”
The final offer includes an extra $325,000 for Santa Clara’s general fund, bringing the total to $1.675 million.
The rest of the deal is the same as was previously reported. It includes a $650,000 transfer from the Stadium Authority’s discretionary fund to the general fund, $650,000 from the 49ers to pay down construction debt and $2.2 million in public safety costs. The 49ers will also forgive $350,000 in interest charges and late payments owed to the Stadium Authority by the City.
As we previously reported, settling this litigation should also help reduce Santa Clara’s $19.6 million operating deficit by 20%.
Public Split on Lawsuit Settlement
The decision came after much public comment prior to the City Council’s closed session. Some residents presented concerns about what a deal would mean for future dealings with the team.
“I would urge you to consider all of the current and future rights that you would be waiving. There may be issues that may arise in the future that we can’t anticipate now and if the release bars the City from raising those issues, it would be unfortunate,” said one resident.
Others say the City faces a deficit and settling these lawsuits is important not just for the City but for the sake of local small businesses.
“I want to emphasize that live events at Levi’s are a lifeline to our business community,” said Melanie. “Continuing to waste millions of dollars a year on legal fees would be foolish. Let’s please settle this dispute. As a concerned citizen, the stadium is here to stay and we want to continue bringing live events to Santa Clara.”
Santa Clara Marriott General Manager Chris Sullivan echoed the sentiment and told the Council his hotel sees a huge difference on days when there are events at Levi’s Stadium.
Lawsuits Still Pending
While this will settle several lawsuits on the books for the past five years, it will not completely end the courtroom battles between the two parties.
As The Weekly has previously reported, there are still two other legal disputes pending. The sides are still at odds over who should pay for the buffet in the priciest club seats and which party is responsible for some public safety expenditures.
The 49ers say the contract is clear, the team pays up to a specific amount for public safety and anything above that is paid from the Stadium Authority’s discretionary reserve. However, the City says the 49ers should be responsible for paying the entire cost of public safety for events at Levi’s Stadium.
Both sides continue to negotiate these issues. The 49ers have previously said the team hopes to have the final two lawsuits settled by the end of the year.