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Fingerpointing continues after 49ers offer $3.3 million stadium settlement to Santa Clara

Fingerpointing continues after 49ers offer $3.3 million stadium settlement to Santa Clara
Photo Credit: 49ers/City of Santa Clara
By Wesley Severson - Published on August 19, 2022.

A $3.3 million dollar settlement offer from the 49ers to the City of Santa Clara appears to be still on the table after the city council decided not to take any action on the matter at this week’s council meeting. The settlement is meant to end a years-long, multi-million-dollar battle over Levi's Stadium. The original lawsuit was filed by the 49ers in 2019 after council members voted to stop the team from managing non-NFL events at the venue because of alleged mismanagement and fraud. 

Now, after three years of back-and-forth bickering, the 49ers are ready to end the battle because of the astronomical legal fees the team and the city continue to pay. San José Spotlight obtained a confidential document that shows the settlement offer breakdown. It “includes a one-time $650,000 payment to the city, in addition to another $650,000 from the Stadium Authority’s discretionary funds to settle the lawsuit. The team would also agree to pay $2 million for public safety costs related to the stadium.”

The settlement offer seems to have fueled the fire when it comes to fingerpointing. Mayor Lisa Gillmor says the 49ers sent the settlement proposal just two hours before Tuesday’s City Council meeting, and she claims that city officials had just a few minutes to look it over before the meeting. “It’s ridiculous. There was no time to even contemplate all the impacts of this proposal. It’s a lot to consider. There are multiple lawsuits the 49ers have filed against the Stadium Authority, and every lawsuit is interconnected. There’s a large amount of money at stake here,” Gillmor told The Chronicle

49ers spokesperson Rahul Chandhok was quick to fire back. “But complaining about timelines is the latest in a long line of tactics Mayor Gillmor has used to avoid answering why she’d rather waste millions of taxpayer dollars on lawyer fees than secure essential funding for the city’s most important issues,” Chandhok said in a statement to The Chronicle.

As for the city council meeting, the offer was discussed in the closed-door portion, but there was no action taken. Before the closed-door session, Gillmor and Councilwoman Kathy Watanabe tried to postpone all settlement discussions until a legal issue with city council members Raj Chahal and Karen Hardy was resolved. The two are being investigated by the state for allegedly accepting 49ers tickets in November of last year. Chahal defended their attendance at the 49ers-Rams game, telling KRON4, “refusing for the council for such a frivolous thing? We were on an operational tour, and the city attorney has issued us a letter that this was an operational tour, period.”

At this point, it is unclear when the City Council will take up the 49ers’ settlement offer once again or when a final decision will be made.