SANTA CLARA (KCBS)— Civil rights groups were threatening to sue the San Francisco 49ers because they claim minority-owned businesses were shut out the contracting process for the $1.2 billion Santa Clara stadium project.

Civil right lawyers along with groups that promote black and Latino contractors and businesses sent a letter to the 49ers, the city of Santa Clara, and the NFL stating they could not find any minority-owned companies that were awarded contracts for the project.

Everett Glenn, an attorney and president of Entertainment & Sports Plus—a nonprofit advocacy group for black athletes, said more should have been done to inform minority contractors about the project.

“So if they can reach out to white contractors and ask them if they are interested, why couldn’t they reach out to black contractors, or other minority contractors and simply ask them if they were interested? And if so, ‘here’s this qualification form. You complete that and we’ll evaluate that’,” he said.

Rights groups also argue that black-owned companies should have received more of the contracts because African-American players are largely responsible for the team’s success.

Glenn said, however, that there is still time to hire minority contractors but if that does not happen, they may take legal action.

The 49ers so far have declined to comment but project officials said California’s Proposition 209, an affirmative-action law passed by voters in 1996, requires them to be “color blind” when awarding contracts.

Santa Clara and development officials told the San Jose Mercury News that they have, over the past two years, awarded construction contracts to firms owned by various races and ethnicities, but could not provide specific examples.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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