BREAKING:  Council Decides to Terminate 49ers Stadium Contract for NFL Games

By Robert Haugh

There was a lot of stuff that happened at the Council meeting last night. But we have to lead off with a closed session item.

This is big news. And it was only one spoken sentence at the Council meeting last night. City Attorney Brian Doyle said:

“In closed session, the City Council unanimously authorized the termination of the stadium management agreement with the 49ers in its entirety.”


The City decided to terminate the 49ers non-NFL stadium management contract in September. That’s for the concerts and events that happen at the stadium. 

The action happened after the City discovered the team had committed wage theft. The City has also reported the 49ers to the state for prosecution.

Now, the City is terminating the NFL game day management agreement. That’s for the 49ers games. The 49ers will likely try to stop it in court.

We haven’t heard why this latest move happened. But it’s probably pretty serious. It has to be at least as serious as wage theft for the City to take this bold action. 

Our sources close to the team say that they consider stadium management a big deal. The team makes a lot of money from both NFL and non-NFL games. And Jed York and other 49ers executives even get stock and other compensation from stadium vendors. 

That’s actually a no-no. And in Oakland, a former Coliseum executive is being prosecuted for a similar conflict.

It’s interesting that the termination vote was unanimous. Even Councilwoman Karen Hardy and Councilman Raj Chahal voted to terminate. They’ve supported the 49ers on the curfew issue recently. 

Dark Money

City Clerk Hosam Haggag gave a report on the Dark Money Ordinance violation that he discovered connected to the 49ers and their opposition to Measure C. 

There was some interesting news. Hosam sent a warning letter to seven people: York, 49ers executives Al Guido, Jim Mercurio, Rahul Chankhok, lobbyists Kevin Moore and Ed McGovern and pollster Dave Metz.

Those letters led to the 49ers filing some campaign forms

But only one person has responded to the City from the warning letters. According to Haggag, Moore denies involvement and knowledge about the December poll. Kudos to Moore for coming forward and coming clean. 

Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe delivered a nice statement on the issue. She said it reminded her of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.  Watanabe asked what would happen to Santa Clara if the Council majority didn’t stand up to special interests. “Would we be a Pottersville or a 49erville?”  Kudos to Watanabe.

Council Vacancy and Appointment

The Council declared Councilwoman Patty Mahan’s seat vacant. She made a controversial resignation last month.

Applications are due Friday, February 28, by 5 p.m. for candidates who live in District 5.  Interviews will be on Monday, March 9, at 6 p.m. 

Interestingly, Suds Jain spoke against the appointment process. He was a candidate for an appointment in 2018 to fill the seat of disgraced former Councilman Dominic Caserta.

Last night, Jain accused the Council of being racist in an angry statement. He said that he didn’t think he could get appointed even though he’s served on a lot of commissions.

But Councilmembers said Jain was “revising history,” and called him “offensive” and “shameful.”

Unfortunately for Jain, the criticism is right. We reported on the appointment vote on June 13, 2018. The Council voted for candidates in five rounds. Five times, the Council was willing to appoint candidates who were men and from minority groups, including Jain. Yup. 

The only reason no one got appointed is because Mahan and Councilman Pat Kolstad refused to vote for anyone — after making the candidates and the public wait until 2 a.m.! 

It’ll be interesting to see if Jain applies again and how he explains himself. Or if he apologizes.

Jim Mercurio


  1. I thought the council can’t terminate the agree without the 49’ers agreement? This is meaningless.

    • Bronco04, do you still believe that after reading section 8.1.1 of ?
      As I understand it, serious fraud is alleged. That’s one of the grounds for termination according to that section. Of course alleging fraud and proving fraud are not the same thing. From what I have read, the City Attorney is confident that there was fraud and will presumably be submitting detailed evidence to support that belief.

  2. I have been asking the council to cancel the Manco contract for years. About time. We have been getting ripped off for too long. IMHO

  3. Congratulations, it’s about time. The 49ers have shown themselves to be the worst business partner ever. A unanimous decision speaks volumes.

  4. Because you are engaged in many things that spreads your own agenda does not make you electable. Now the race card! You remind me while playing basketball, the one that constantly calls fouls. Voters need to believe in you and what you stand for. No foul.

    • Playing the “Race Card”? Dude. Take off your MAGA hat and turn off Fox News.
      If the Council’s action in setting up a seven member charter committee composed of six whites and but one minority (Asian), where five all white committee members knowingly voted to make it more difficult for a minority candidate to be elected, over Six districts ordered by the court, what would you call it? The court was nice. It found it to be discriminatory. I’m old school. It was discrimination based on race. That’s racist. Tell me why it’s not (after dispensing with the obligatory, “but I’m not racist! Some of my best friends… blah, blah, blah.”).
      Oh well. Open up the wallets again residents.
      The court is gonna love this. Incredible.
      Vote no on C.

  5. I did not accuse the City Council of being racist and ask you to listen carefully to my statements. I said that an appointment process could be used to maintain status quo. The fact is that in 2016 the council appointment resulted in an all white council.

    Here are my exact words:
    I believe that Council appointments to council seats are in violation of the intent of the CVRA. I believe that Council appointments are a very easy way to maintain status quo which discriminates against minorities. There is no protection to prevent an all male council from appointing only men?

    The last time Council appointed someone to be a councilmember, that person went on to easily win the election for that same seat as an “appointed incumbent”. That person was white and the council remained all white despite a number of very qualified minority candidates. I fear that the same thing will happen again with an appointment for this seat which is why I oppose the process of appointing. Interestingly, this happened before we had district elections and that councilmember has consistently refused to meet with me despite many attempts to set up a meeting. It just goes to show how not being in the “in” crowd disadvantages new candidates. I fear I would have no chance to get appointed in this round despite having a record of being very engaged in the City as a planning commissioner, chair of the Charter Review Committee, BART Community Working Group member, El Camino Real Advisory Group, OQRA, and a member of the Chief of Police advisory committee.

    I applaud Patti Mahan and Pat Kolstad for their valiant efforts to block the council appointment for Dominic Caserta’s seat since I’m certain an appointment vote would have just put another of the council majority’s friends in the seat. I saw the appointment process as a sham since the candidate choices were essentially made even before the meeting started. I was surprised by how vengeful the council was when it voted to formally admonish councilmembers Mahan and Kolstad for their courageous votes. We all know that keeping the seat open allowed two awesome councilmembers to get elected in 2018 including a minority.

    As I have watched the council votes lately, most of them have been 4 to 3. Leaving the seat open won’t change the council outcomes and won’t make the council gridlocked.

    So I say leave the seat open and let the people really decide.

    — Suds

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