Santa Clara County yanks $30 million in funding for 49ers stadium

Maybe they’ll need to use Personal Breathing Licenses at the new 49ers stadium, after all.

In a surprise move, Santa Clara County has pulled $30 million that it previously had pledged to the team’s new stadium, according to Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News.

Per Rosenberg, the team and Santa Clara city politicians “strongly and passionately object” to the move.  (Maybe they should try to strenuously object.)

County officials have decided to keep the money, explaining that they’d rather devote the cash to teachers than to “little televisions in the back of stadium seats,” a feature that county tax collector George Putris believes the team plans to install.

In 2010, Santa Clara County voters approved the use of $40 million in redevelopment funds.  California, however, scuttled redevelopment agencies after the local redevelopment agency paid only $10 million to the stadium effort.  The 49ers paid the remaining $30 million, with the understanding that the local redevelopment agency would repay the money from property tax revenues.

The county now believes there’s no legal obligation to do so, and the board responsible for the money voted 4-3 on Friday to spend the money instead on local government and schools.

“Let’s be real,” Putris said.  “That stadium is going to get built whether or not you get this $30 million.”

While the 49ers plan to eat the money if it’s not recovered, the meal may not come until after everyone feats on plenty of law firm invoices.

“Ladies and gentleman, retain your attorneys:  The litigation is to begin,” County Assessor Larry Stone said.

That could be the official slogan of the 2012 NFL season.  And possibly 2013.

73 responses to “Santa Clara County yanks $30 million in funding for 49ers stadium

  1. Spending tax money on schools and other government needs instead of a football stadium? How dare they?

  2. Imbecile county members that think they are smarter then the legal team of a multi-billion dollar company? I guarantee every single one of them has run their last term in their position.

  3. They should do us all a favor and dismantle that franchise, send them to London with a new logo etc. brother.

  4. Good, no level of government should be footing the bill for these ridiculous sports palaces (which will be obsolete in 25 years anyway). NFL owners are wealthy enough to fund their own stadiums, time for this scam to come to an end.

  5. NFL teams make plenty of money. Let them pay for their stadiums and let governments put their money where it’s needed. I applaud the move. There are more important things.

  6. Gotta love big business.
    If you decide to yank $100 from your cable bill, then tell them “Let’s be real,that cable is going to get to my tv whether or not you get this $100.” ,you’ll be sent to a collection agency in a heartbeat, but if the government or corporation decides to do the same thing, it’s just business. Strategic default I believe it’s called. Crazy.

  7. raider2124 says:
    Jun 24, 2012 12:00 AM
    Cali would rather waste the money on wind turbines and green every bs.

    Spoken like a guy that could give a rat’s butt about the future of any natural resources after he croaks. Not surprised that that sentiment comes from a Raiders’ fan.

  8. Good call Florio, that should be the official slogan. Each year, pro football becomes less of a game and more of a business. Doctors, laywers, stadium deals, litigation after litigation, suspension hearings galore, difficult CBA negotiations, politics, mega TV productions, halftime show mishaps – no doubt the NFL is living up to it’s billing as the best form of reality TV. Drama, drama, drama. Time for the commish to marry one of the Kardashians. God help us.

  9. Patrick Willis knocks on door of Jamie Matthews (mayor of Santa Clara). “Oh hey Patrick…(awkward silence)…ya, here’s your $30 million”

  10. raider2124 says:
    Jun 24, 2012 12:00 AM

    Cali would rather waste the money on wind turbines and green every bs.


    May be the dumbest comment ever on PFT.

  11. I wonder if that would work with my state taxes? Instead of paying out my taxes I am just going to give the money to my daughters school. Is that okay Mr. Government?
    …. huh, partial write off, what does that mean…. hey why are their cops here?

  12. I presume the team got the promise in writing,since they already knew that most politicians lie. The team will win it in court.

  13. I bet the teachers don’t see one dime off that money. Funds have a strange way of disappearing, I should know my wife’s a teacher.

  14. I don’t have problems with them giving the funding to school teachers, since I have a bunch of friends in the bay area that are teachers. I’ve seen how bad the schools are there, but at the same time it’s pretty shady to make a deal and then renege on it after the 49er’s have already spent 30 million out of pocket.

  15. Cali is already a disgrace with its bloated, bureaucratic, edukatiomal system, so throw more money at it… sure.

    Politicians are afraid of the teacher’s union, plain and simple. The stadium would be a better investment.

  16. The city can spend the money however they want BUT don’t tell someone you’re going to give them the money and than wait till after they already started to build the stadium and say “We’re going to keep it and what are you going to do about it? Move?

    What a classless move on SC’s part and I hope the 49ers sue and win.

  17. No one forced the county to promise @ z beginning. At the end, Poor tax payer will be hooked for the 30 millions + attorney fees.

  18. raider2124 says: Jun 24, 2012 12:00 AM

    Cali would rather waste the money on wind turbines and green every bs.


    When they should be buying more Free Market Tea (imported from Korea).. *slams head against desk*

  19. twodat says:
    Jun 23, 2012 11:57 PM
    Bleak House rules
    “The Black Hole rules”.

    there, fixed it.

    dont believe it, until ground is broken and construction has begun…

  20. The NFL is all about kids getting exercise and their play 60 crap but now PE is getting pulled from schools all over cause they can’t afford it I love the 49ers but if they go after this money I will be very disappointed

  21. ^ No kidding. Again, big government wins over taxpayers going to games, and putting money BACK into the economy.

    “Let’s be real,” Putris said. “That stadium is going to get built whether or not you get this $30 million.”

    Oh really, a-hole? You guys PLEGED it! That “real” enough for ya?

  22. I have no problem with them not funding the stadium and California needs all the money it can get. However to say you will then back out because “it will happen anyway” sounds rather leech like to me. Of course they are democrats, nevermind carry on.

  23. LOL – and the people there want the new stadium for the Niners. Wonder what that says about the Chargers already very bleak prospects for a new stadium – and the very weak efforts by our outgoing flatfoot – Our “Strong Mayor” – Jerry Sanders.

  24. That’s a nasty bait and switch. They want the stadium, but don’t want to pay for it, so they promise the money wait until the work has started and then withdraw the money knowing that it will be too costly to change the plans now.

  25. 49ers: I want you to pay for my house so I can make a gillion dollars and have it all to myself.
    San Fran: I’m not paying for that!
    49ers: well then I am suing you!

    ….god bless America

  26. Considering the economy, this isn’t surprising. Also, that stadium design is horribly ugly! Why can’t teams at least make an effort, like Chicago did. Stands surrounded by giant billboards is a terrible idea.

  27. “The county now believes there’s no legal obligation to do so”

    Ok, so you agree to kick in $40 million, pay $10 million then cry you can’t afford to pay the other $30 million. 49ers say that’s fine we’ll cover it, you just pay us when you can. Then after they brake ground you find a loop hole and say were not paying you at all. Oh and of course the money is for “schools”, I’m sure it is.

    Santa Clara stadium needs a new name.

  28. applause; 30 mil is pocket change when it comes to stadiums, any other use of that money would be better spent – including studying frog mating habits – correct, the stadium will get built anyway.

  29. If the County big mouths said they would pay X amount of money, its got to be in writing or by a vote that is public record so reneging on the deal is just saying, sue us and see how much you get. By the time they spend the money on teachers contracts there will be none left.
    I would love to see a Judgement against the County that says no tax collections on the property or ticket sales for 20 years.
    I’m tired of all these Cities and Counties being afraid to take on the unions that are causing all the financial pain. Everyone is waiting for the Fed’s to bail them out.

  30. Going to ‘the Stick’ is the worst NFL experience I ever had. Traffic in/out is an abomination. Concessions are a joke. Just an awful, antiquated dump.

    In 2005, I actually snuck in on a game day (right underneath a sign reading ‘Terrorist Alert: Orange!’). I told two Mexicans in yellow security jackets I was told to buy my game tickets inside, they looked confused, didn’t speak much English, and I walked on in. They were playing the NY Giants that day. That place is a joke.

  31. Hmmm. I wonder what the County will do with $100 Million per year – from 10 home games – generated from sales tax, parking, income tax allotments, concessions, and the like.

    Maybe the Niners will, without negotiating, change the terms of the revenue split with the county now.

  32. southridge23 says:
    Jun 24, 2012 6:14 AM
    49ers: I want you to pay for my house so I can make a gillion dollars and have it all to myself.
    San Fran: I’m not paying for that!
    49ers: well then I am suing you!

    ….god bless America

    It’s amazing that any human being with a brain could read that article and get that from it.

    1) It has nothing to do with San Francisco. It’s Santa Clara County.

    2) It’s not like the 49ers went to the county, asked for the money and the county said no so now they’re suing them. The 49ers went to the County, asked for the money, the county said YES, signed an agreement saying they could have the money, and then just unilaterally said they wouldn’t give them the money.

    Please try and read more closely.

  33. Glad you left the CITY of SF to go and deal with small town Santa Clara. Are the 49ers still letting SC operate it and collect the revenue?

  34. The unions have way more money than any football team and will steal money wherever they want, especially in California where they have bought and paid for every politician.

  35. It ain’t just California where the Unions have bought and paid for/elected politicians.

    Hopefully however – Wisconsin will set a good example for the other states. 🙂

  36. That money going to teachers is just as likely as Al Davis coming back from the grave, buying the 49ers and moving them down to LA.. Then back to Candlestick park twelve years later.

    Way to bite the hand that’s going to feed you for decades to come!

  37. “”jimbo75025 says: Jun 23, 2012 11:59 PM

    Spending tax money on schools and other government needs instead of a football stadium? How dare they?””


    It isn’t the fact they are spending the money on schools. The issue is that money was committed to this project to have the stadium built in the county, which in turn will garner more money from people coming into the county for a)jobs b)more kids in the school system means more federal monies c) more sales tax to go towards schools…

    $30,000,000 was a drop in the bucket compared to the money they will see over the next 25 years for that stadium being built in their county…

    I know the Browns spend MILLIONS per year on school programs in and around Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. That is money they might decide could go elsewhere, like little TVs in the back of seats and let the county fend for itself, since this money isn’t part of any contract obligation…

    Business advisers for Santa Clara County might want to think twice about their recommendation
    if they really have the county’s best interest at heart.

  38. @irishdawg42

    I did not say that yanking the money was not shady, just that public money should not have been promised in the first place for a venue for a private enterprise.

    In terms of added jobs, etc two ways to think about. One there will be decent paying construction jobs while the stadium is being built, but how long will that last, 2 years? Once done, the contractors will move on to the next project which will most likely be outside Santa Clara. Two, once completed, most of the jobs at the stadium will be ushers, concessions, etc-in other words pretty low paying jobs. Santa Clara is actually very affluent so I highly doubt some guy making $10/hr for 8-10 games a year plus a few concerts, etc could even afford to live there in the first place.

  39. @jimbo75025

    Take a look at business development in downtown Santa Clara right now…

    Here is my guarantee to you: Within 6 months of stadium completion, there will be no less than 2,000 jobs created out of this one single deal.

    Joe Montana is building a 4 star hotel complex right across the street with year round entertainment. That project alone will employ upwards of 1,000 jobs as long as the 49ers continue to play in this new stadium.

    It isn’t JUST about the stadium positions, which I agree are lower paying jobs that many use as supplemental income…which for the common man needs in today’s economy.

    Every cent earned by these $10.00 an hour employees also contributes(my guess around 3%) towards the community and schools included. At least that is the percentage here in Ohio. Those 2,000 $10 an hour jobs send about $600 per hour to community needs or roughly $1.2M per year.

    That is ONLY the $10 dollar an hour jobs you mentioned. There will also be property, self employment opportunities, and high income jobs created that will make this $1.2M look like a drop in a bucket.

    The big picture was taken into account when the money was promised, once it was at the stage of no return, THEN they pulled the plug knowing they would continue to reap the benefits for the next 1/4 century.

    That is my point, $30M investment in something that will return 5 times that amount over the years was a great investment for the county and now, their will most likely be some repercussions for their actions which will lose them parts of that money for future interests…most likely more than the $30M still owed to the 49ers organization.

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