An ongoing audit has called into question whether the San Francisco 49ers are properly splitting Levi’s Stadium revenues with the City of Santa Clara.
Santa Clara mayor Lisa Gillmor requested an audit of Levi’s Stadium in May, expressing specific concerns about whether the city was receiving proper reimbursement from the team for emergency services provided on game days. At the time, Gillmor cited the 2010 ballot referendum that triggered the approval Levi’s Stadium. That measure stipulated that Santa Clara general fund dollars could not be used for stadium operations.
The audit is now raising some concerns about whether Santa Clara is receiving its fair share of revenue. Per the terms of the 49ers’ lease, the team receives gameday revenues, but is supposed to share money from non-football events with the city. However, with the 49ers failing to offer up key financial documents, the audit suggests that some money may have been improperly redirected by the team. More from NBC Bay Area:
On Friday, independent auditor Fred Brousseau told NBC Bay Area that it is possible taxpayer funds were used to reseed the field several times.
He said he is also working to determine how much city money has been spent on NFL sanctioned events, which is illegal, per Santa Clara city law.
“That’s one of our audit questions — to make sure those costs are being properly allocated,” Brousseau said.
Gillmor has said that these findings could lead to the city taking over operations of Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers are expected to turn over some documents today, but, in a statement issued over the weekend, the team refuted Gillmor’s claims:
“The Mayor’s accusations that money is going from the City’s General Fund into the stadium are false and irresponsible. As the Mayor surely knows, since she voted for the agreements, the stadium does not use general fund money. In fact, funds are flowing into the General Fund from the stadium. The 49ers Stadium Management Company has generated over $5.5 million for the City’s General Fund over the last two years, plus an additional $2 million in fees to the City. On top of that, another $2 million has also gone to the Discretionary Fund.”
Among other things, the statement goes on to claim that the management of Levi’s Stadium has reduced stadium-related debut. 49ers Management Group oversees the management of Levi’s Stadium, which is owned by the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.
Image courtesy San Francisco 49ers.