Stadium Audit: 49ers Owe Almost $2 Million to City and Construction Fund

Stadium Audit: 49ers Owe Almost $2 Million to City and Construction Fund

By Robert Haugh

The final stadium audit has been released, finally. The bottom line is  $1,957,051. That’s how much the 49ers have to reimburse the city of Santa Clara or the construction fund. Here’s the breakdown:

  • $229,239 for staff time spent on the stadium.
  • $114,781 for un-reimbursed fire department staff costs.
  • $894,228 for construction funds used for public safety and operations.
  • $718,803 unpaid parking fees for golf course.
  • $1,957,051 Total

This number is slightly different than the amount previously reported in the draft that was leaked to news media, starting with the erroneous Santa Clara Weekly story, in early June. But it’s still a big number. Kudos to the Harvey Rose auditors. You can read the entire 168-page report yourself or just go to Page IV for a list of financial findings.


Now what?

As has been previously reported by the Mercury News, the auditors found that Measure J was violated. It’s the law passed by voters in 2010 that prohibits general fund money from being used on stadium construction or operations.

Most of the top city staff that were responsible for spending the money are gone: City Manager Julio Fuentes, Finance Director Gary Ameling, City Attorney Ren Nosky — and Mayor Jamie Matthews who suddenly resigned in February, 2016.

So, the only top city staff remaining who have major responsibility for the spending and Measure J violations are: Interim City Manager Rajeev Batra, Police Chief Mike Sellers, and Fire Chief Bill Kelly.  How will they have to answer for the audit findings?

More Stadium Items

The audit will be discussed as a part of the first dedicated meeting for the Stadium Authority on Thursday, August 24, starting at 5 p.m with a study session on the audit.

Additional items on the agenda:

  • Stadium Authority meeting dates for 2018;
  • Financial status for the quarter ending June 30, 2017;
  • Non-NFL events;
  • Reimbursement agreement between the 49ers and VTA for increased service in support of Non-NFL events;
  • Information on the Transportation Management and Operations Plan;
  • Use of the Stadium Authority community rooms at the stadium.

Many of these items have been heated topics at past Council meetings. We expect some tough questions. We’ll have more to report later this week. Stay tuned.



  1. This SV Business Journal article today provides a link to the report via the Mercury News: ttps://

  2. Haven’t the 49ers/Levi’s StadCo/Levi’s ManCo refused to release some or all of the non-NFL spreadsheets, accounting information to the City officials and the external auditors that were hired?

    If so, the $2 Million is just a starting point. There could be a LOT more on the far more lucrative non-NFL events as well as expenses incurred by the City of Santa Clara (and emergency services of Santa Clara specifically) that might be even MORE alarming!

  3. Is the 168 page report on the City website?
    I’m having trouble with your link above:
    “The resource you are looking for has been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.”
    Glad to hear this is finally completed and available to the public.
    Is it the 49ers who owe the money to the City, or is it Stadco or is it the Stadium Authority?

  4. The should be treated like any other business in our city. Pay or get fined or get sued or get shut down.

    • This is sad on so many levels. How can a storied professional franchise stumble so fast and so hard?
      “Faithful since “46”, really? 90% of the residents of Santa Clara voted in support of Measure R. That’s the new law that has now land locked Levi Stadium. Not a good showing of your “Faithful since 46”. By the way, just a quick reminder, it is the City of Santa Clara’s stadium, not yours. We built it, we paid for it. You get to rent it from us, you are just a tenant.
      I applaud our Mayor, City Council, and new City Attorney for putting this company on notice. The latest win was the first audit. I say first because they are going to keep coming. I guess spending $200K was actually a good investment, great job Mayor!!
      Mr. York, everyone loves a comeback, everyone makes mistakes.
      Impress us, become the business partner we have always wanted you to be. Remember we are the very same people who voted for Measure J. It’s up to you. We are not going anywhere, you can either learn to work with us, or as the say, “The beatings will continue until moral improves”.

      Santa Clara resident
      Burt Field

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