Confidential Audit Report: 49ers May Owe Santa Clara $2 million (Opinion)

Confidential Audit Report: 49ers May Owe Santa Clara $2 million

By Robert Haugh

Kudos to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross reporting team for getting the confidential Harvey Rose audit report. They reported yesterday (Monday, June 12) that the 49ers may owe the City $2 million. Yup. That’s a big number. It’s bigger than many people around town were expecting.

This is major news because it’s only the first phase of the audit. As we’ve 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 money that’s owed the City.

We noticed that the 49ers pointed a finger at one former Santa Clara city staffer in the Chronicle story. “These costs were paid at the request of the Stadium Authority’s finance director in accordance with construction fund practices,” said 49ers spokesman Bob Lange.

That person would be former Finance Director Gary Ameling, who left for a similar job in Las Vegas. We emailed Ameling, who emailed us back with a lengthy explanation. He has not seen the draft audit. Ameling writes: “I firmly believe that all construction funds were used appropriately and complied with Measure J.”

Last week, we gave kudos to the Santa Clara Weekly for getting the confidential audit report first. But maybe they only got selected pages. They incorrectly reported that the 49ers only owe $500,000 to the City. Whoops. Somebody should be embarrassed like when the billion dollar Princess Stephanie McMahon and the “The Alliance” received a milk bath courtesy of Kurt Angle.


Here are the winners and losers on this issue:


  • Mayor Lisa Gillmor and the City Council who hired the auditors. The vote was unanimous.
  • The Grand Jury who recommended the audit a year ago.
  • The Harvey Rose audit team who produced the report.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle for getting the report and full story out.


  • The 49ers who keep adding to their long list of how they’ve screwed the City.
  • The Santa Clara Weekly who misreported the story. Or they don’t know how to read audits.
  • City staff who may have misappropriated city funds. They may have never sent some bills to the team, too. (We’ve reported that the most top staffers have left since the Grand Jury report).
  • Santa Clara News Online who still hasn’t been leaked a copy of the audit. (Note to our sources: Help!)




  1. […] Resolutions approving an amendment to the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement for the Santa Clara Stadium Authority will separate duties of the Stadium Finance Director/treasurer/auditor into two positions – Stadium Authority treasurer and Stadium Authority auditor. This was a recommendation of  the Civil Grand Jury over a year ago. What took so long? Maybe this is a reaction to the audit which does not make city staff look good. […]

  2. Until we get s much broader and deeper accounting we will not know if it is $2M, $5M, $10M or more that the 49ers have pilfered from Santa Clara.

    What city staff should be fired over these discrepancies? (That haven’t left already)

    What civil or criminal action can be brought to the District Attorney for folks on the 49ers/ManCo/StadCo side as well as Santa Clara staff and elected officials?!?

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