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Levi’s Stadium Audit Draft: 49ers Owe Santa Clara

Levi's Stadium

A draft of a Santa Clara-commissioned audit on Levi’s Stadium finds that the San Francisco 49ers owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to the city, but the team is refuting some findings. 

Santa Clara had selected the firm Harvey M. Rose to conduct an audit that is expected to be released in August. The firm was chosen as some officials–including mayor Lisa Gillmor–expressed concern that the 49ers were not meeting the terms of a 2010 ballot initiative in which voters approved Levi’s Stadium. That initiative states that the city cannot subsidize event costs for Levi’s Stadium, a provision that includes staffing time for public safety and other city employees.

The 49ers do have a cap on those expenses, which is at $1.7 million and increases by 3% annually. The audit found that the team has run over its cap every season, with overages being covered by the stadium authority’s contingency fund.

The draft of the audit determined that the 49ers owe the city $424,349 in police and firefighter staffing time at Levi’s Stadium for the period covering October 2014-June 2016. In addition, the draft reports that the team’s management company still owes Santa Clara $718,803 for the use of a city-owned golf course for parking. The 49ers have disputed those findings, saying that they in fact overpaid for use of the golf course by $1 million, and criticizing some of the audit’s estimates. More from The San Jose Mercury News:

The audit estimated $424,349 was the total unpaid staff time costs — but without documentation. Auditors took the average costs for 11 NFL and non-NFL games and multiplied it by all events during the two-year time period to come up with $424,349. The staff costs were related to stadium setup, planning meetings and activities after a game or concert, such as completing police reports. The audit also said that $64,716 was spent on one-time staff costs related to stadium events, such as training new police officers.

“The splashiest so-called finding of the report is the ‘extrapolated’ $424k figure for administrative public safety time that the consultants argue could theoretically exist — although they can’t be sure and certainly can’t document it as fact,” Gordon, the 49ers attorney, wrote.

Santa Clara’s acting finance director, Angela Kraetsch, questioned why Harvey Rose used estimates and “not actual amounts” and said most of those staff costs were paid in June. She also said the auditors miscalculated the number of events by an extra 12 events.

The firm is standing by its work, but notes that the draft could change before it is finalized. The audit also found that over $800,000 left over from the stadium’s construction fund was used to cover public safety costs, but the 49ers claim that expense was approved by the city.

Image courtesy San Francisco 49ers.

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August Publications