The Santa Clara City Council is Considering a Cover Up not a 49er Legal Settlement

By Brian Doyle

Five years ago when I agreed to be Santa Clara’s City Attorney, I did so because as a longtime City resident with decades of experience in municipal law, I wanted to fight for my hard-working neighbors who appeared to have been getting the short end of the stick from Jed York, the CEO of the 49ers.

In the course of my tenure I learned that the 49ers had been hiding virtually all of the Stadium Authority’s financial records from the Mayor and Council and were advising them that they should reduce the rent for the Stadium by $160 million. That Council did not believe them and filed for arbitration which the City won. With my advice, the City gained a net victory of $170 million and recouped its attorneys fees.

That Council under Mayor Lisa Gillmor then demanded the books that the 49ers were supposed to be keeping about Stadium Authority revenue and expenses. The 49ers reacted by filing the first of half a dozen legal actions to prevent the public officials from getting access to the Stadium Authority’s records: round one of coverup.

Through the course of the lawsuits and arbitrations, we learned that the 49ers:

● Violated state conflict of interest law that could potentially void millions of dollars in expenses paid to themselves

● Improperly procured contracts in a noncompetitive way, requiring them to repay the Stadium Authority once they had been caught

● gross non-compliance with prevailing wage laws, and

● persistent violation of state health and safety codes.

In apparent reaction to what I was uncovering, the 49ers began saying that they wanted me gone. On September 1 of last year, council members Raj Chahal, Karen Hardy, Suds Jain, Anthony Becker and Kevin Park terminated me (without cause), leaving the City without a permanent City Attorney for almost a year now.

Over this past year, these same five council members have met dozens of times with the 49ers behind closed doors, hearing only the 49ers’ advice on how to put a stop to the City’s efforts at obtaining the Stadium’s financial records.

Now, suddenly there is a rush to consider a proposal to “settle” the litigation regarding the Management Agreement. What happened to all of the self-dealing, conflicts of interest, and cooking the books that motivated council members Chahal and Hardy to vote not once, but twice to terminate the Management Agreement?

The 49ers’ motivation is clear: cover it all up and keep managing the Stadium in their interest. What would motivate any council member to allow this to happen?

The 49ers’ advice about the rent re-set in 2016 was totally wrong, and if it had been taken would have been a financial disaster for the Stadium Authority. Their advice to the current Council is equally wrong.

Rather than even consider the 49ers’ blatant attempt to cover up their corruption, Council members Chahal and Hardy must explain to the public why they would consider reversing their votes to terminate the Management Agreement. And each council member should be transparent about their settlement discussions with the 49ers. 

There are no time constraints on the Council making a decision on this. There are way too many questions important to Santa Clara voters for the Council to agree to cover up what has been happening under the 49ers’ management.

Former Santa Clara City Attorney Brian Doyle
Former City Attorney Brian Doyle


  1. I wonder what light any contracts between the 49ers and the City might shed on this situation. Is York in breach? Has he breached NFL rules in any way in this situation? I mean other owners loaned the 49ers $200 million to build the stadium and his shenanigans might call into question their reputation with other cities. How about the bond holders? Are the 49ers in breach of any contracts with them? And then there’s the District Attorney or State Attorney General. Have the 49ers broken any laws by buying off a majority of City Councillors? What about Open Records laws with respect to a closed session to discuss this settlement proposal?

  2. […] The reshaped council additionally fired earlier Metropolis Legal professional Brian Doyle and Metropolis Supervisor Deanna Santana, who each had challenged the 49ers’ administration of the publicly owned stadium. Doyle spoke out towards the workforce’s settlement provide in an opinion piece posted Monday on the Santa Clara News website. […]

  3. Thank you Brian Doyle for your article. I welcome the open discussion and transparency on who is voting for what in the council. Last elections I though we were on a good track in regards to holding the 49ers to their commitments per the stadium agreement they signed and the voters approved. Instead we see the council majority focusing on giveaways to the 49ers with money that should be going into improving the law and order situation and other community improvements. I’m a concerned resident who is seeing increased break-ins, theft and vandalism in district 2 where I live. As residents we should be working to hold the council members accountable for their action (or lack there of) in November or else this decline will continue. Still 3 months to win my vote.

    I’d like to see other commenter here stating if they are residents of Santa Clara or what stake they have in this.

  4. Byron Fleck, I think YOU are the one who needs to travel, get a hobby, work for a non-profit, etc. Your continual efforts to undermine whoever tries to put us Santa Clara citizens first (over the 49ers) is sickening.
    You never fail to bring up that Lisa Gillmor supported building the stadium, but you never give her credit for standing up for Santa Clara’s good when it was discovered that the 49ers were cheating us. She and the previous council, city manager and city attorney all worked tirelessly for us while the 49ers brought lawsuit after lawsuit against the City, none of which they’ve won.
    You on the other hand originally worked against measure J, the 49ers and building the stadium! But now you work FOR Jed York and the 49ers, and against the city and us citizens by supporting the 49ers and cheering on the council, 5 of whom seem to have absolutely no interest in the city, only kowtowing to Jed York and his cronies at the stadium.
    You take pleasure in hurting us and our city. Shameful.

    • I hear you loud and clear, SCV! Byron might want to remind everyone about which council worked hard to bring Levi’s Stadium to Santa Clara. Patty Mahan, Kevin Moore, Pat Kolstad and Dominic Caserta. They supported it and the ballot measure for Santa Clarans to vote on it. Lisa had nothing to do with that. She worked on Measure J just like a bunch of other now unhappy Santa Clarans did when they now see what sheisters Jed York and the council that he bought are. Continually selling out the city for whose benefit? Not mine or yours. Jed’s.


    • @Byron. Because Lauren J. Sounds so much
      Sexier than Jamie Mathews.
      Tee hee!

  5. Freaky Fleck is complicit with lies by Suds regarding voting in district 5. More Suds and his underworld.

    These are people that cannot be trusted.

  6. As one attorney to another. Brian. Give it a rest. Your post is that of a bitter old man. No doubt building a stadium for the 49ers (promoted by Gilmor and Watabne) was a terrible decision by voters, but they got that “Good and hard,” as HL Menchen would say.
    Look, as attorneys, we’ve won cases we should have lost and vice versa. At the end of the day, all we take with us as our legacy,is doing the best we could. We move on.
    You are demeaning yourself and your family.
    Go do positive. Go travel. Go work for a non-profit. But for heavens sake, give the Santa Clara/49er thing a rest. I’m sure whoever is your attorney agrees.
    There is no validation for coming onto some obscure message board where posters universally post anonymously.
    Is this how you want your legacy?

    • It is quite telling that Mr. Fleck makes a personal attack, rather than addressing the very important legal issues that I raise. HIs script sounds a lot like Rahul Chandhok. Also interesting that he characterizes the case against the 49ers as already “lost”. How does he know this?

    • Flecky needs to keep his mouth shut. Flecky is the one who texted Sudsy to grow a pair and fire Doyle the night before the 49er 5 did the dastly deed almost a year ago. Go climb back into your hole, Flecky.

    • Hey fleck aren’t you Suds Jain attorney who gave him bad advice about being able to vote on the DT until the FPPC called out your error? Aren’t you the guy who has been fired from your legal jobs? Didn’t Jed York buy you a house in SJ to get you out of his hair? Talk about a legacy!

    • Brian, no personal attack expressed nor implied. You’re just embarrassing yourself, and family, by extension. Keep chasing windmills as you chose. Point is, this is how you want to rest your legacy? Just my .02, lawyer to lawyer.

  7. Brian, could not have said it any better….
    Better said, why would I even try.
    Thank you for all that you did, and I am equally excited to see how you can help us going forward.
    My goal is simple, get our City back.
    But along the way, if I can help right some wrongs… you are near the top of my list.
    I know you will not say it out loud, but at the end of all this, Having a “Brian Doyle Day” would be a great start to telling everyone who is against us, they picked the wrong guy to mess with.
    Thank you again for all that you did.
    Burt Field

    • Amen, Burt. What Brian Doyle said should raise a lot of questions for every Santa Claran that cares about honesty and transparency. It’s time to ask those tough questions of the 49er 5. It’s time for folks to pack the council chambers just like they did to support Jed York coming to Santa Clara except now it’s time to ask why is he screwing our city over with a bunch of screwballs.

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