SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — Santa Clara’s mayor is accusing the San Francisco 49ers of pumping money into local political races this fall, and trying to cover their tracks.
“They are now funding candidates behind the scenes. And they’ve figured out very creative ways to launder this money so that their name doesn’t show up,” Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor said.
Gillmor is accusing the 49ers of trying to influence the upcoming election in an effort to stack the deck on the city council with supporters of the team.
Gillmore says that four candidates – Patty Mahan, John McLemore, Ahmad Rafah and Mohammed Nadeen – are having more than $12,000 spent on each of their campaigns by a political action committee called Citizens for Economic Council.
Gillmor says Citizens for Economic Council got the money from BLUPAC, a non-profit started by Douglas Chan, an attorney who works for a public relations company that lists the 49ers as a client.
“The fact that they’re not doing this openly and transparently makes me wonder why they’re doing this subversively to our city,” Gillmor said.
Gillmor believes, but says she cannot prove the money ultimately came from the 49ers.
The team issued a statement saying, “this organization does not make a practice of commenting on political matters and will not begin doing so now in response to unsubstantiated rumors that support personal agendas of local politicians.”
City council candidate Patty Mahan says she know nothing about the money, and feels her campaign and character are being unfairly smeared.
“I have vowed not to take any money from the 49ers, team members, personnel, management, and related companies, whatever. I have not taken any money from the 49ers in this election,” Mahan said.