By Robert Haugh
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, there was a lot of talk about the 49ers having a conflict of interest with the RedBox Bowl.
They’ve publicly said they own or manage the bowl game. But they’re telling the City that they don’t really. And it looks like they’re trying to cover up their past press releases.
This is important because they have negotiated (with themselves?) for use of Levi’s Stadium for the bowl game. And the City is supposed to get a cut of the revenue since it’s a non-NFL game. But the 49ers have reported to the City that the bowl game loses money.
After our report yesterday, we got some info from an East Bay source who noticed a similarity to what happened at the Oakland Coliseum.
A few weeks ago, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office filed criminal felony and misdemeanor charges against the former Coliseum Executive Director Scott McKibben.
Dave DeBolt wrote a good story for the East Bay Times. Sarah Ravani wrote a good story in the San Francisco Chronicle.
McKibben worked in Santa Clara for about a month in 2017.
McKibben is accused of negotiating a naming rights deal with RingCentral for the Coliseum then asking for $50,000. As a public employee, he can’t do that because of conflict-of-interest laws.
The situation is similar to 49ers exec Jim Mercurio. We reported that he received stock in VenueNext, a company that does business with the stadium. He owned somewhere between $10,001 and $100,000. After our report, Mercurio had to sell VenueNext stock and stock in another company that does stadium business.
Mercurio acts on behalf of a public facility owned by the City. So he has to follow conflict-of-interest laws. Just like McKibben, Mercurio can’t engage in self-dealing.
There’s some evidence that other 49ers execs like Al Guido and owner Jed York may have a financial interest in VenueNext, too.
This is a developing story. We’ll continue to follow what happens in Alameda County and maybe Santa Clara County.