SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) – Officials with the 49ers on Monday were facing off against Santa Clara’s mayor in an escalating war of words over the rent being charged for the team’s use of Levi’s Stadium.
The battle off the field between Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor and the team has been ongoing for the past two years.
“They should stop their emotional outbursts about me,” said Gillmor. “It’s time that they have accepted the decision by the arbitrator.”
The fight began in 2016 when the 49ers asked for a rent reduction at Levi’s Stadium. But the team and the Santa Clara City Council couldn’t come to an agreement.
The two sides put the decision in the hands of an arbitrator, who decided last week to deny the rent reduction request.
Instead, the arbitrator increased the team’s rent by $262,000 to a total of $24.7 million per year, up from $24.5 million.
“It’s about the rent dispute. It’s about the public. It’s about our responsibility to manage that stadium,” said Gillmor.
But in the last 24 hours, the disagreement has become louder and nastier, with both sides taking their grievances about one another public.
“And it shows now that we are managing the 49ers and not being managed by them,” the mayor said Sunday, referring to the arbitrators decision.
At the same time, 49ers Vice President of Public Affairs Rahul Chandhok sent out a statement about the mayor that read in part, “It’s exactly this deceptive approach, her lack of transparency, and fuzzy math that make Mayor Gillmor distrustful.”
On Monday, Chandhok said, “Mayor Lisa Gillmor will always put her interests before those of everyday Santa Clarans. The stadium lease is a matter of public record. Attempting to give it new life in the media is a distraction tactic to avoid questions of her use of public funds for spin doctor Sam Singer.”
Gillmor has been accused of using Singer — a communications consultant for the city — for her own personal agenda against the 49ers.
The mayor fired back on Monday.
“It’s almost embarrassing for them to put that out,” Mayor Gillmor said with a laugh. “But what’s important to know is that it’s a complete distraction. The public can see through that. Again, it’s just a distraction to cover up the huge loss that they just endured.”
The mayor has written a letter to the 49ers president, challenging him to be transparent and asking him to agree on releasing the details of the arbitrator’s decision.
She said once the public will learn how much money the team actually wanted to cut, they won’t be happy.
KPIX 5 asked the 49ers for a response Monday afternoon, but they did not want to go on camera.