Last week the Santa Clara County Oversight Board pulled $30 million in taxpayer money from the San Francisco 49ers stadium fund. The officials on the oversight board used a new state law to take the $30 million back so it can be used on education and school districts. The 49ers contend the money was approved by Santa Clara city voters in 2010 and was written in agreements with the city to start building the new stadium. In order to recoup the $30 million, the 49ers are suing Santa Clara County.
On Thursday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly issued an order that required Santa Clara County to hold onto the funds until a hearing is held July 3. The 49ers suing the county was an expected move.
With the total stadium price tag at $1.2 billion, $30 million is such a small sum that construction will not be delayed. The stadium is still expected to open in 2014. You might wonder why the 49ers would sue for an amount of money that is only around three percent of the total construction costs. One big reason is because the $30 million from redevelopment agencies helped the 49ers secure an $850 million bank loan for stadium construction. That, and the 49ers higher-ups don’t want to give the impression to County and City of Santa Clara officials they can be pushed around in the future regarding constructions costs.
Here is a press release from the 49ers regarding the lawsuit:
49ers seek court intervention to block County Oversight Board decision
No impact on construction schedule; stadium will open in 2014
(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) – The San Francisco 49ers filed a lawsuit yesterday to prevent a Santa Clara County Oversight Board from reneging on the commitment to fund $30 million for the new NFL stadium under construction in Santa Clara. The investment of RDA funds for the project was approved by the Santa Clara voters in June 2010, and formalized in written agreements in February 2011. The 49ers advanced funds into the Stadium project in reliance on the RDA’s commitment to the project. After the County declined to discuss a resolution to this issue, the 49ers have begun the process to have the matter decided in court.
The first step in the litigation was a request for a temporary restraining order, filed yesterday by the 49ers, to prevent the County from disbursing disputed funds for any other purpose until the court can more fully review last week’s surprise action by the Oversight Board, in which it voted to reject the stadium funding commitment.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly issued an order today requiring the County to hold the disputed funds until a July 3 hearing on the TRO.
“The Judge’s order is a positive first step,” said Larry MacNeil, CFO of the 49ers. “We look forward to discussing with the County how we can resolve this matter.”
Because the 49ers advanced the funds to the project, construction of the stadium will continue on schedule, with no change to the July 2014 anticipated completion date.
“The stadium is a public-private partnership success story,” said MacNeil. “The cash advanced by the 49ers, backed by the RDA commitment, leveraged hundreds of millions in new funding to create one of the largest construction projects in the state. After just a few months it has created several hundred jobs, provided a positive regional economic impact and funding for the Santa Clara School district. By this fall, there will be 1,000 workers on this job.”
The stadium in Santa Clara will be the new home to the San Francisco 49ers. It was designed by HNTB and is being built by Turner/Devcon; the stadium is expected to be one of the world’s best outdoor sports and entertainment centers, setting the standard for the next generation of sports venues. The $1.2 billion venue will have 1.85 million square feet, seat approximately 68,500 and will feature an expected 165 luxury suites and 9,000 club seats. It was designed to be a multi-purpose facility with the flexibility to host a wide range of events including, domestic and international soccer, college football, motocross, concerts and various civic events, and will be expandable for major events such as the Super Bowl. For more information, go to www.newsantaclarastadium.com.