The Santa Clara Stadium Authority has decided to end its partnership with the San Francisco 49ers for non-NFL events at Levi’s Stadium after saying the team allegedly mishandled its obligations with the city and violated state labor laws.
On Sept. 18, city leaders and regional labor advocates criticized the 49ers for booking events that lost money and for reputedly stealing wages from its stadium workers.
Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor, who also chairs the stadium authority, said, “The 49ers have not been compliant with state wage laws, they have not been transparent or accountable to the public with financial information. They have mismanaged our stadium.”
Gillmor added, “When the 49ers signed on to manage Levi’s Stadium, they claimed to have substantial experience and expertise to operate the stadium for both NFL- and non-NFL related events, like concerts. It’s clear now that that claim was false.”
She said for the last five years, the 49ers have not managed the stadium in the “best interests” of the city’s residents and taxpayers. Net revenues for the last fiscal year amounted to about $18,000, she said, adding that the coming year’s net revenues are estimated to be $0 for non-NFL events.
Effective Nov. 15, the stadium will not by managed by the 49ers for non-NFL events. The team will still play at the stadium, its home turf, and will manage the facilities for its own NFL events.
Rahul Chandhok, a spokesperson for the 49ers, said in a statement that the team’s stadium management company “will continue to manage Levi’s Stadium and attract the greatest events in the world to the Bay Area.”
Chandhok added, “The city’s latest announcement is just another step in a self-destructive process they began years ago as part of a petty political vendetta. All of those efforts failed, just as this latest attempt will also fail.”
He said the 49ers are “entirely confident that we will prevail in this dispute.”
Santa Clara’s city attorney, Brian Doyle, rebuffed claims of a vendetta against the 49ers, saying this dispute is “about the numbers, and the numbers can’t lie.”
Ben Field, executive officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council said that city staff revealed the 49ers had skipped paying prevailing wages for workers on one contract, totaling roughly $85,000 in stolen wages.