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.
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.