By Robert Haugh
Today, the Civil Grand Jury is scheduled to release a scathing report about how the 49er Five are selling out Santa Clara to help the 49ers.
A lot of information leaked out in the last couple of days, starting with the Santa Clara Weekly’s Erika Towne who broke the story Friday, October 7, 2022, at 3 a.m.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick and Lance Williams had the most comprehensive story. Here are some key paragraphs:
Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Karen Hardy, Sudhanshu “Suds” Jain and Kevin Park — may have violated city and state ethics laws.
By displaying “unacceptable behavior” and aligning themselves with the Forty Niners Stadium Management Company, which operates Levi’s Stadium, the council majority “has effectively breached its duties to the City,” the report stated.
Specifically, the grand jury zeroed in on the council members’ frequent, private meetings with 49ers lobbyists. That arrangement “raises serious concerns about potential violations of the Brown Act, which prohibits serial meetings where City business is conducted.”
“Because of the large number and systemic nature of these closed-door meetings with lobbyists,” the report said, “the Civil Grand Jury is concerned about transparency and whether the 49ers’ lobbyists are dictating City/Stadium Authority policy to the detriment of the residents.”
The Mercury News’ Marisa Kendall added a couple of important points to her story:
Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe, both of whom have been critical of the 49ers and were not accused of wrongdoing by the grand jury, declined to comment until after the report’s official release.
Councilmember Park defended his relationship with the team Friday.
“It’s easy to make allegations,” he said. “I think we do follow the due process. I think things will come out as they will.”
Councilmember Hardy dismissed that idea, saying she and other councilmembers meet with all sorts of people.
“I have a fiduciary responsibility to know what’s going on,” she said.
For the 49ers’ side of the story, San Jose Spotlight’s Ramona Giwargis is the team’s go-to reporter. In her story, she quoted 49ers representative Rahul Chandhok personally attacking Grand Jury members. He’s been the team’s PR attack dog for a while.
This is a developing story.
Editor’s Note: The 49er Five are Councilmembers Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain, Karen Hardy and Kevin Park.
Jed York spent $3 million in November 2020 to elect Becker, Jain, and Park. They were previously 0-6 in Santa Clara elections. Chahal and Hardy have received gifts from the team recently without reporting them.
The 49er Five meet with the team on an almost weekly basis and have voted to help the team win millions of dollars in concessions from the City since December 2020.