Is the Assessor and County Government Covering Up the Facts of the 49ers $240 million Tax Break?

By Robert Haugh

At the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, we got some interesting news. It really sounds like a coverup. No kidding.

City Manager Deanna Santana gave a detailed statement about how the City can’t get info about the 49ers’ tax appeal case and the decision to give them a big tax break. The City has been stonewalled by the the Assessor’s office and the County. Wow.

You can watch it here

Santana starts talking around 5:46:24. She’s followed by City Attorney Brian Doyle. Then the Council makes comments and asks questions. The whole clip is about 16 minutes.

Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights?):

  • There was a written decision about the appeal on November 28, 2018. But Assessor Larry Stone only went public with it on January 23, 2019. Huh?

  • The Assessor or the County still hasn’t given the written decision to the City. Doyle got it from a Mercury News reporter. Really?

  • The City has been asking for info since last December. Now they’ve put in a public records act request. This could get interesting. Or messy.

  • During the process, the Assessor’s office never reached out to the City for information about how the stadium is run. Really!

Here’s Santana’s closing statement:

“It is hard to believe that the Tax Assessor’s work and the AAB’s decision is thorough, accurate, and correct. It appears that as a result of the denial of the Stadium Authority’s participation the Assessor did not present the strongest case for denying StadCo’s appeal or reducing its impact.”

Doyle added this:

“It appears that the County was actively attempting to prevent us from participating in the appeal as well as giving us knowledge of the ruling and giving us a copy of the ruling.

I don’t understand what’s going on over there. My conversations with County Counsel have been almost unreal in terms of how little information they’re willing to give us, how coy they are, and how mysterious they seem about what the process is.”

Doyle then read a sentence from the November 28 decision:

“The Assessor presented a good deal of evidence that the 49ers ran profitable enterprise using the stadium for football purposes, something the Assessor says the Stadium Authority failed to do using the property for its purposes.”

Doyle couldn’t believe it and said this:

“It’s extraordinary to me that the assessors say we failed to prove to them how the 49ers ran a profitable business using the stadium for non-NFL purposes when we were never given any opportunity to do that.”

We thought it was a big deal that Stone reported this as a $31 million refund when it should be called a $240 million tax break ($6 million reduction annually for 40 years).

And that Stone never disclosed that he led a 49ers stadium group and got free tickets from the team.

But now we think this story is getting bigger and better (or worse?).


    • This reeks of rancid rubbish. Stand up Santa Clarans! Write all the board of supervisors, school board, city council, community college, board of education.

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