Stadium Authority Delays Updating Conflict Of Interest Code

Santa Clara, California

During Tuesday’s Stadium Authority meeting, the Board opted to continue adopting new guidelines for the conflict of interest code. These guidelines more clearly delineate who is subject to Political Reform Act regulation.

The Forty Niners Management Company (ManCo) asked the Board to delay the item. Board Members Kevin Park and Anthony Becker both said they would like more information about the specifics of the changes.

Stadium Authority Counsel Brian Doyle said the update became necessary because of gaps in the management agreement.

“It is absolutely riddled and fraught with possibilities for violation of state law with respect to conflict of interest,” he said.

Further, several actions ManCo has taken are clear conflicts of interest, he said. Namely, since ManCo is a consultant acting on behalf of a public agency — i.e., the Stadium Authority — the law requires the submittal of a Form 700, a public official’s disclosure of assets that may be affected by its official action. ManCo has even “confessed” to these conflicts in letters to his office, he added.

Doyle said he has repeatedly tried to contact ManCo’s attorney to amend the management agreement and better understand the conflicts of President Al Guido and Stadium Manager Jim Mercurio. ManCo, Doyle said, has “refused to cooperate.”

But Park said he has yet to “hear the other side of the story,” adding that he cannot “make a judgment without full information.”

The request from ManCo came in the eleventh hour, with Doyle saying he has “heard nothing but stony silence since May until six minutes before the meeting.” He said the letter is not a “good faith effort” and anybody who thinks otherwise is “sorely mistaken,” adding that ManCo is “flat-out misleading” the Board that it is not “making governmental decisions” since it is signing contracts on the behalf of the Stadium Authority.

“They have been playing games with this,” Doyle said. “They have been passing their own budget, they have been operating under their own budgets, they have been taking money out of a revolving loan, acting as though they are public officials when they do that, and they think somehow they should be exempt from state law when they do this. This is absolutely appalling that they are taking this position.”

If the the Board delays adopting the code, it is rewarding bad behavior, Doyle said.

Executive Director Deanna Santana said ManCo tends to label matters as urgent only to delay or waste City employees’ time.

Chair Lisa Gillmor said the issue was about transparency and took digs at other members of the Board, calling them “friends” of ManCo, a comment which drew umbridge from Board Members Becker, Park and Vice Chair Raj Chahal.

Becker said the Board needs to get past such characterizations and instead learn to look at each instance with sober eyes. If ManCo really has a pattern of behavior in line with what the mayor and others claim, he said, the new Board members will see it soon enough.

See the full story at: