By Robert Haugh
The 49ers fired their longtime Stadium Manager Jim Mercurio last week, according to an exclusive report in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The team also dismissed 30 other employees.
But no one knows why. The team has not issued a public statement and would not respond to the story.
The Chronicle story also reported on Mercurio’s checkered history, referring to a story revealed by a Santa Clara News Online (SCNO) investigative report. Here’s what the Chronicle wrote:
“In 2019, after an expose on a local news website, the 49ers acknowledged Mercurio owned stock in two software companies that were doing business with the 49ers at the stadium. The team denied Mercurio’s investments had violated conflict-of-interest laws, but it required him to sell his stock at no profit.
The team also paid the city $52,000, the amount of public funds previously paid to one of the companies.”
Another Mercurio issue was the subject of a lawsuit and alleged wage theft violations. Here’s what the Chronicle wrote:
Also in 2019, the city contended in a lawsuit that Mercurio and the 49ers had violated multiple state and city laws in connection with a $650,000 reflooring project at the stadium. City auditors claimed Mercurio failed to get city approval of the project, failed to put it out for competitive bids and underpaid project workers, all illegal violations.
The 49ers again denied wrongdoing, but the team gave the city a refund of the public funds spent on the flooring project and picked up the entire cost of the project.
The Chronicle investigation discovered that the team laid off approximately 30 percent of its employees last week.
But on Tuesday, the 49ers submitted a budget that did not reflect that or have any cost savings from the layoffs. The budget also pays the Santa Clara general fund zero dollars for performance rent for the seventh straight year.
When questioned about the issue by Mayor Lisa Gillmor, 49ers Finance Director Alex Acton would not disclose any information. The Chronicle called Acton “evasive.”
Gillmor and Councilmember Kathy Watanabe voted against the budget.
But the 49er Five voted for it and it passed 5-2.
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 without reporting them and received $1 million each for their elections in November 2022.
The 49er Five met 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.