SPECIAL REPORT: Evidence that Santa Clara Police Officers and Stadium Manager Were Not Aware of Raj Chahal and Karen Hardy’s Game Visit For an “Operational Tour”

By Robert Haugh

Santa Clara City Councilmembers Raj Chahal and Karen Hardy received free game passes from the 49ers for a Monday Night Football game on November 15, 2021.

They did not declare it which is a violation of state law. And City law prohibits them from receiving any gifts from the 49ers under the City’s lobbyist ordinance.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is currently investigating the potential state violation.

No one is currently investigating the City’s lobbyist violation. 

The 49er Five refused to agendize that possible action at the September 13, 2022, City Council meeting. That’s when Mayor Lisa Gillmor recommended that District Attorney Jeff Rosen investigate since the interim City Attorney Steve Ngo of the Lozano Smith law firm has a conflict of interest.

Chahal and Hardy claim that they were on an “operation tour” during the 49ers-Rams football game. They were spotted on the sidelines during the game.

But the Stadium Authority never officially authorized their visit.

The Santa Clara police unit working at the stadium that evening was unaware of Chahal and Hardy’s visit, according to a text from Assistant Police Chief Derek Rush.

49ers executive Jim Mercurio who is the team’s stadium manager was also unaware, according to the text.

The text was discovered as part of a public records act request and undercuts Chahal and Hardy’s claim that they were on an operational tour.

This is a developing story.


  1. Kathy, didn’t this strike you as odd? Was there anything written down as to what issue prompted game operations reviews? I think that some would see this as a way to to justify not having to report those tixs to the FPPC.

  2. I used to work part time on game days fir the Raiders. I was able to go on field but you had to have a damn good reason to be there. There is no way that any team is going to just allow ANYONE without prior notice to be there. They would have had at least five or six people there too. This my are not going to just let them walk around period.

    And if they did this work, where is the paper trail documenting their findings?

    This does not pass the smell test.

    • Oh no! The only thing they were doing was investigating how to get out of the stadium without hitting traffic

  3. Why is all the disclosure of what goes on at the 49ers coming from either Gillmor or Watanabe??? You read Kathy’s response and it is thorough and reasonable as well as informative. The Mayor does this as well. Chahal and Hardy do try to be informative. Then when get to Park or Jain or Becker it is filled with blanks, sarcastic replies or sardonic speeches. All three of these brats mutter in generalities or stale jokes.

  4. If you are going to report on this issue please report on which other Stadium Commissioners and City Councilpeople were invited to take part in this tour. Were the other three 49er Five invited? Did they decline?

    Were Lisa Gillmor and Kathy Watanabe invited? Did they decline?

    Were Chahal and Hardy aware that they were the only ones who would be on the tour? Did they ask the 49ers to make sure that all commissioners were invited?

    • I was not invited to be part of this tour. However, my husband and I are season ticket holders and I was in attendance at that November 15 game with tickets that we purchased.

      As I stated in the last council meeting, there are PRA notes under 21-780 produced by Councilmember Hardy that show at her October 6 meeting with the 49er management (Jas Sajjan, Emily Matthews, Larry McNeil and Raj Chahal were in attendance) with a notation about the “49er Rams 5:00.” Why? Was the November 15 tour being planned at that October 6 meeting?

      I also stated in the last council meeting that on May 17, 2017 prior to the U2 concert, there was a noticed City Council meeting that started in the parking lot at Levi’s Stadium to look at the possibility of rerouting the creek trail during stadium events. Members of the public were also in attendance. The council was delegated access badges to the stadium to observe command central with members of SCPD as well as Stadium Management. The council had to leave the stadium prior to the concert starting. Here is the agenda from that meeting.

      May 17, 2017
      4701 Great America Parkway Southeast corner of California’s Great America Main Lot Parking Lot
      Santa Clara, California
      5:00 PM CLOSED SESSION Stadium Authority Office at Levi’s Stadium 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way
      Santa Clara, California

      1. CALL TO ORDER (4701 Great America Parkway at the Southeast corner of California’s Great America Main Lot Parking Lot,
      Santa Clara, California):
      2. ROLL CALL:
      A. Confirmation of Quorum.
      A. THREAT TO PUBLIC SERVICES OR FACILITIES: Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957(a), Consultation with: Chief of Police, Santa Clara Police Department.
      8. RECESS TO CLOSED SESSION (Stadium Authority Office located at the Levi’s Stadium, 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way,
      Santa Clara, California):
      10. ADJOURNMENT:
      A. The next regular scheduled meeting is on Tuesday evening, May 23, 2017, in the City Hall Council Chambers.

  5. “The 49er Five refused to agendize that possible action …” the very definition of conflict of interest.

  6. An operational tour when the ones that are actually conducting the City operation don’t know. Genius.

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