By Robert Haugh
The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is possibly investigating Councilmembers Raj Chahal and Karen Hardy for illegally accepting gifts from the 49ers and not reporting it.
The allegation was first made by former City Attorney Brian Doyle at the June 21 City Council meeting during public comment.
He gave the Council a detailed six-page report. Doyle wrote:
“The public records and statements by Councilmembers Chahal and Hardy indicate the following serious violations:
- Acceptance of gifts in the form of NFL game passes in excess of the legal limit of $520
- Failure to report the acceptance of gifts on their annual statements of economic interest (Form 700)
- Acceptance of gifts from lobbyists in violation of the City of Santa Clara Lobbyist Ordinance
- Violation of Santa Clara City Council Policy 050”
According to multiple reliable sources in the legal community, both Chahal and Hardy have sought the advice and help of legal counsel.
Wow. This means they take the charges seriously. Or they think they did something wrong.
Hardy and Chahal attended the 49ers Monday Night Football game against the Rams on November 15, 2021.
They both admit that they got into the game and did not pay.
Doyle says they violated a state law that requires them to declare a gift from the 49ers.
And they violated a Santa Clara law that prohibits lobbyists, like the 49ers execs, from giving any gifts of any value to any Councilmember.
Plus, they violated Santa Clara’s City Council gift policy.
Hardy and Chahal said they were there to officially view game operations. But there was no City Council or Stadium Authority action authorizing them to do that.
Councilmembers Anthony Becker and Suds Jain attended a January 2 game to view operations. They say they purchased tickets themselves. That’s not good for Chahal and Hardy.
But Becker and Jain may also get some scrutiny for their attendance. Becker bragged about how he purchased inexpensive tickets in the “nosebleed” section.
According to the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith purchased cheap tickets to a San Jose Sharks game to cover up the fact that she was sitting in luxury suites with people who were lobbying her.
The day after the Monday Night Football game, all four Councilmembers voted to change the weekday stadium curfew that protects residents from late-night concerts.
The 49ers having been lobbying for that change for years even though that was a condition they agreed to when the stadium first opened in 2014.
The team could increase revenues it gets from concerts substantially.
Editor’s Note: Chahal and Hardy were contacted late yesterday and did not respond to questions. But if they respond today, the story will be updated.
Minor clarifications were made to this story shortly after publication.