What Santa Clara Mayor and City Council Told the SF Chronicle About 49er “Sweetheart Deal”

By Robert Haugh

I received numerous emails and texts yesterday regarding the San Francisco Chronicle story about the 49ers’ offer to drop their lawsuits in exchange for a “sweetheart deal.”

Unfortunately, the Chronicle story is behind a paywall.  (Here’s the link to subscribe for the people who asked).

I can’t post the full article here. But I can excerpt what the Mayor and Council said in the article:


(Mayor Lisa) Gillmor declined comment on specific settlement questions, though she said she believes the city has “a very strong case against (the 49ers) for financial mismanagement and other legal issues.”

“If the city council does want to conclude with any settlement, it’s par for the course with what’s been happening,” Gillmor said. “They continue to side with the team over the financial interests of Santa Clara residents.”


(Councilmember Kathy) Watanabe said settling the lawsuit on the team’s terms would be a bad idea. “It’s going to take away our leverage” concerning stadium finances, she said.

“The 49ers have made a lot of money off the city of Santa Clara, and the city is going to be left holding the bag,” she said.

Hardy and Becker

(Councilmember Karen) Hardy and (Councilmember Anthony) Becker said they had not heard of the 49ers’ proposal before The Chronicle asked them about it Tuesday. They each maintained they did not discuss the matter in their meetings with team officials.

“I don’t know anything about this,” Hardy said. “That’s interesting and we’ll see.”


Another council member, (Suds) Jain, said he didn’t know any details about a proposal to settle the lawsuits. But he suggested he was amenable to the idea, saying, “I don’t like paying lawyer fees — I’m not happy paying lawyers.”

Jain said it was important for the city’s financial interest to be protected in a settlement.

“Settlements are usually based on some sort of data,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll have some data.”

Chahal and Park

Council members Park and Chahal did not return voicemail messages.

And Finally, Former City Attorney Brian Doyle

“Is it $100 million?” Doyle said in a phone interview. “Who knows until you see the books?”

Doyle noted he hasn’t seen a settlement proposal. But before he was fired, he accused the 49ers of angling for a “sweetheart settlement” that would leave the team in charge of Levi’s while shielding it from financial scrutiny from the city.


  1. News flash cpra 22 408. Becker Campaign treasuer Abel Cardona sought Social Media comments of kathy watanabe of retired disabled people.

    Though Becker opposes such requests directed at him.

  2. If Jed’s toadies didn’t know about the suggested deal how did the paper find out? (of course they might have ‘forgotten’)
    What the mayor said is all too true, as we see week after week.
    Gillmor said. “They continue to side with the team over the financial interests of Santa Clara residents.”

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