Grand Jury Report: 49er Five Selling Out Santa Clara to the 49ers

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 NewsMarisa 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.

49er Five: Karen Hardy, Anthony Becker, Suds Jain, Kevin Park and Raj Chahal


  1. Love this response to candidate interviews with Becker and Chahal. Spot on by Buscher Alum.

    “Becker wants to break up the political power on the council.”

    Becker is the political power on the council along with his four allies who have all been politically supported with millions of dollars from the Forty Niners.
    They have had a 5-2 majority in council votes for two years.
    “He said he’s been transparent and cannot control how the football team spends its money in elections.”
    He has been anything but transparent. Him and his four allies on council who are the Forty Niners voting bloc.
    He and the other four all meet with the Forty Niners in private. They take pains to do this, splitting up into a group of two and a group of three to meet the same Forty Niners executives back to back. Because if there is less than four in a room together they can keep the meeting totally private. Four or more and it must be on the public record. They do not even keep minutes or notes or recordings for other city staff to review, political or appointed.
    That is the opposite of being transparent.
    And he welcomes the Forty Niners spending to promote him. The campaign website that the Forty Niners paid to create features a photo that came from him.
    Becker cannot have it both ways. If he is fine with looking like he has been bought by the Forty Niners then it will be a campaign issue for most voters.
    ““It basically convicted (me) without ever listening to (me),” Chahal said.”
    Raj Chahal is either ignorant or feigning ignorance on this matter. The grand jury did not make any determinations of guilt or innocence. That is not what they do. They found that this council majority is acting in ways that are not transparent and seem to have a conflict of interest. They have made sound recommendations for addressing these questions and giving Santa Clarans the security of knowing their city council is running the city in an ethical and transparent way.
    We shall see if Chahal votes to adopt any of the grand jury’s recommendations. I am doubtful given that he sees their push for transparency as a “conviction” of him as if he is a victim.

  2. First, to Ms Peel. The Brown Act does not allow a SERIAL MEETING. This is when one person meets with a politician to discuss an issue. This is to prevent coordination amongst politicians in voting. The FPPC really investigates these because of the appearance of back room deals inplicit in this type of meeting.

    Don’t be surprised if all four lawyer up. To me, there has to be a favor involved. Why would these five do what they are accused of doing if there wasn’t something there. I think the niners are worried.

    Ramona Gigearis…her site wrote a total puff piece two years ago about a coffee shop owner on the Alameda who got sued for an Ada violation. I mean it was just disgusting how one sided it was. When I wrote her a lengthy dissent as I have had bad experiences with this same shop, she didn’t want to hear about it. She is going to carry water for the team just you see.

    Finally, if Jeff Rosen too long the sheriff I think he will take on this.

  3. Today’s Murky News and Chahal opinion of opposition:

    “Not having experience is not an asset,” Chahal said. “Not having experience is one thing — being naive is another thing. (McColloch and Pellecchia) don’t have any administrative experience of how to manage the city or what is going on in the city.”

    Naive? No administrative experience? Is Chahal is talking about Becker. McColloch and Pellechhia have had solid business careers and stability and bring that experience to City Hall. Goes a long way. Does Chahal also forget the Park never served on a City-sanctioned commission or committee? No wonder Kevin only yarns on and on about the techy life.

  4. Total conflict of interest, the 5 need to go.
    We need people on our City Council that do not have hidden agendas.

    • The actual Grand Jury report reads much worse than the earlier news articles over the weekend. If those 3 running mentioned in the report had any semblance of integrity or character they would withdraw from their respective races. This is much worse than I even thought.

    • Let me just suggest Hardy may have a point. Permit this for one sec. You are all reasonable. Ok

      WHY IN THE BEJINKUS DOES JAIN, BECKER and Kevin get to meet with the 49ers all together???????????

      Brown act time


      Need to be removed

      Three Amigos of Sleaze

    • That’s really asking a lot. You do know that would also require some Independent Internal thinking to go on…
      I mean let’s just reach for the stars here!!
      I’m pretty sure that is a skill set Mr. Becker knows very little about. How to clean a “Bong” strong point. Thinking for one self… weakness.

      So let’s see what his handlers think he should do.
      However, at this point, I’m not even sure they will pick up the phone if he calls them for advice.
      The “Jig is up”. Time to look for a new “Stooge” or some other idiots to groom to replace the next set of elected City Officials.
      We all need to be aware that the “40 Whiners” have 31 more years on this contract with our City. They know that there will be set backs, and my fear is they will continue to get smarter at ways tor rip us off.
      This is a cancer at the highest level. Our financial reserves are already being tapped and our City deserves better.
      Our residents need to be on guard now and at least for the next 25 to 30 years. At that point, I’ll be in my early 90’s!!

      So how do I vote? I ask myself, what do the “40 Whiners” want? That’s where I start. Then I look to who our current leadership is backing, and then I make my decision. Does it work? Like magic.
      That’s our power, let’s use it to the best of our ability.
      This is our City. We will defend it.

      Burt Field

  5. The bottom line seems to be that the 49er management do not want to open their financial record books to even a neutral third party. And they have been going to enormous expense meddling in local government elections to prevent audits of their financial record keeping. That they have so much spare money to throw around and influence our elections is very telling to say the least.

    • Carol, you are so correct, let’s get some of that money that they are freely spending to destroy our City, to actually come back to us in a way we can help to make our City better.
      Thanks for all you do.

      Burt Field

  6. “I have a fiduciary responsibility to know what’s going on,” she said.
    Yeah, a fiduciary responsibility to get all the money she can for her re-election campaign. Hey Karen, how much is jed paying people to walk the streets for you?

    • Yesterday I got a visit from Raj’s walker! Guy knew nothing! 5 minutes later I get a visit from Raj’s opponent, Larry McCullough and a Councilmember Kathy. Guess who I am voting for? The candidate who personally knocked on my door!

  7. Becker, Park, Jain meet with the 49ers once a week. Mr Haugh wrote the subject of these meetings include himself, James Rowen, and several other people. Sorry but these people have nothing to do with the stadium. Also Park has asked 49ers for personal funds. Becker and Jain attack Haugh, Rowen, Field, Gillmor, Vartan, and Watanabe non stop. For what?

    Jain seeks to repeal the Public Records and Brown Act

    Grand Jury was advised about this in May 2021.

    • October 25 headline for SF Chronicle

      Amount of money spent on defeating Lisa Gillmor by 49ers exceeds the settlement amount by 40 grand.

      November 9 headline for SF Chronicle


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