49ers Stadium Audit Report Leaked (Sort Of) to the Santa Clara Weekly (Opinion)
By Robert Haugh
Congratulations to Santa Clara Weekly reporter Carolyn Schuk for getting info about the Harvey Rose audit on stadium operations and finances. It’s still confidential and it’s still in draft form. So she found a good leak. Is Santa Clara City Hall becoming the Trump White House?
But the Weekly story leaves out lots of major facts.
- The audit was requested by the Civil Grand Jury a year ago in June, 2016. The Weekly, in this story and especially in Miles Barber’s columns have questioned the legitimacy of the audit for a long time. But, more knowledgeable people know that it started with the Grand Jury. That’s an important fact to leave out of a story.
- The $500,000 that the Weekly reports that the 49ers owe the City is not the total amount of the audit findings according to our sources. Unfortunately, our sources aren’t as leaky as Carolyn’s and won’t say how much more. But we think it’s way higher.
- The audit is not finished despite the article’s headline and sloppy reporting. That’s because the 49ers are allegedly withholding documents that they are legally required to give to the City. So this is just the first phase of the audit. The courts will probably have to force the team to give up the documents. There’s a legal battle now. Then we’ll see another audit or two. And maybe the 49ers will owe more money to the City.
- Measure J violations were previously reported by the Mercury News in October, 2016. (Measure J is the law that Santa Clarans voted for to prevent the city’s general fund from being used for the stadium.) So that’s not news. We just don’t know how much or who’s responsible. Back then, Ramona Giwargis reported that “Despite a push from Santa Clara residents at the meeting, the auditors could not say exactly how the potential Measure J violations occurred.” Let’s hope the audit when it comes out answers that question. That will be news.
Speaking of responsibility … since the audit started, the following people have left City Hall: former City Manager Julio Fuentes, former City Attorney Ren Noskey, former Finance Director Gary Ameling. Plus Interim City Manager Rajeev Batra officially retired on March 31. These were the top people responsible for stadium expenditures. Is this just a coincidence? Will there be others?
Finally, we should give Carolyn some credit for getting at least one thing right: “The story is still developing,” she writes.
[…] As our faithful readers know, the Santa Clara Weekly got the confidential draft of the audit and reported it on June 8 before anyone else. There were a lot of major mistakes in the reporting. But we still gave kudos to Weekly reporter Carolyn Schuk for her scoop. […]
[…] We understand the draft audit lays some of the blame on City staff for weak oversight. It’s hard to argue with the obvious. Most of the top City staff who were responsible have left the city or announced retirement. […]
[…] read it and gave Schuk credit for the scoop, a day later, June 9, although the story had lots of big […]
[…] pointed out, the 49ers won’t give up documents to the City that they’re suppose to, so a lot of the audit cannot be completed yet. Once the City gets documents, maybe through a court order, the auditors will likely uncover more […]
Thanks for keeping us up to date on these things. As I understand it this was a civil grand jury and some questions being asked might go beyond that.
Speaking of people that have left, the first big rat leaving this ship was his honor the mayor. I think he left about the time I heard about a civil grand jury being formed.
Can the Grand Jury investigate the leaks?
Not sure… more interesting would be any conversations between 49ers and their minions in ManCo and StadCo with City Staff and elected leaders.
But note that earlier articles mentuoned how no one took notes. It is sll do sketchy as almost all of the normal Business practices are not followed.
It’s more like something out of “Goodfellas.” But with the history of the family, that makes sense.
Hope I don’t end up with a horse head on my pillow!
Leaks like these usually happen as you know to soften the blowback from the real report.
Which is still scratching the surface of the Measure J violations.
More interesting would be corruption of senior city staff and elected leaders. That will probably require another Grand Jury investigation.