By Robert Haugh
In some stellar reporting this weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle body slammed the 49er Five.
Reporters Lance Williams and Ron Kroichick added up the number of meetings the 49ers have had with Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Karen Hardy, Suds Jain, and Kevin Park. It’s 57 meetings that they’ve reported on their calendars. That’s an average of one meeting every four days. Wow.
It’s actually 58. But the two Chronicle reporters can’t be blamed for Park’s irresponsibility. It’s now 295 days since Park has failed to report his January, 2021 49er meeting.
Jain met most often with the 49ers according to the Chronicle. Jain has met with them 32 times so far, including five times in just one week in March. Double wow.
Becker attended 19 meetings. Hardy was close with 18. Park met 15 times. And Chahal had 13 meetings.
The 49er Five have supported the team on almost all the issues where the team is fighting against the City and Santa Clara residents. The most dramatic move was firing former City Attorney Brian Doyle for no cause at the team’s request.
49er CEO Jed York spent $3 million last year to elect Becker, Jain, and Park. The three were 0-6 in previous city elections when they didn’t have York’s financial help.
But here’s the real eye-opening stuff from the Chronicle story.
Jain met with 49er PR attack dog Rahul Chandhok right after Doyle gave the City Council a confidential briefing on Santa Clara’s legal strategy against the team. Here’s what they wrote:
“Doyle briefed council members about the city’s litigation with the 49ers on Jan. 19. There are 10 different cases, including the lawsuit challenging the city’s move to terminate the team’s management of Levi’s Stadium.
For the new council members elected with 49ers backing — Jain, Becker and Park — this was their first inside look at the city’s legal strategy. The council meeting ended about 9 p.m. Jain sent his text to Chandhok seeking to “reconcile the different stories” the next day at 10:02 a.m.”
Triple wow. And I’m not the only one to think so. Here’s what the Chronicle reported:
“Bruce Budner, a veteran trial lawyer who teaches legal ethics at Berkeley Law, called Jain’s text ‘seriously problematic.’ Jessica Levinson, director of the Public Service Institute at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, described the scenario as “‘stunning.’
‘Why would you put it in a text?’ Levinson said. ‘People are rarely this flagrant.’
According to state law, a public official found to have made such disclosures can be ordered by a court not to continue to do so in the future, can be referred to a grand jury proceeding and can face possible removal from office.
This year, Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe did not meet with the 49ers or share any confidential legal strategy with them.
Maybe Gillmor and Watanabe should be the only ones allowed to be in closed sessions when 49er items are discussed.
Editor’s Note: You can read a limited number of SF Chronicle articles for free. But then you’ll have to subscribe. It’s Northern California’s biggest and best paper so it’s worth it especially if they continue to cover Santa Clara with excellent reporting. But as a courtesy, you can read the full article on the Stand Up for Santa Clara website.