The San Francisco 49ers are still 0-0, but they’ve scored their first major win of the year.
A judgehas prevented Santa Clara County from spending $30 million that had been earmarked for contribution to the new 49ers stadium, according to Mike Rosenberg and Steve Harmon of the San Jose Mercury News. During Tuesday’s hearing, Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly suggested that, in the end, Santa Clara County may have to surrender the money to the 49ers.
On July 27, Judge Connelly formally will consider the claim that the 49ers should receive the money because voters specifically approved the funds for use on the stadium project.
“This is a powerful argument, and one that may prevail,” Judge Connelly said Tuesday.
It would have been hard for Santa Clara County to emerge from Tuesday’s hearing with anything other than a defeat, given that the board overseeing the money has yet to hire a lawyer.
The team called the judge’s decision “a step in the right direction” via a release issued Tuesday. “We remain optimistic that when the merits of the case are heard, the court will support the [voters’] overwhelming decision,” the 49ers said.
In 2010, voters approved the contribution of $40 million by the since-disbanded local development agency. The money earmarked for the stadium then flowed into the county’s coffers. Last month, the county abruptly decided not to pay the cash to the stadium effort.