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Volume 26 No. 60
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Santa Clara Official Sues 49ers Over Levi's Stadium Tax Break

Stone filed a suit challenging the decision to cut the 49ers' annual property tax bill for the stadium by $6M

Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone is "suing an assessment board that gave the 49ers a multimillion-dollar property tax break" for Levi's Stadium, which Stone claims "shortchanged local governments and school districts," according to a front-page piece by Thy Vo of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. Stone yesterday filed a suit "challenging the assessment appeals board's decision to slash the 49ers' annual property tax bill for Levi's Stadium" by $6M and "give the football team an immediate refund" of $36M from the Santa Clara Unified School District, city of Santa Clara and other government agencies that are supposed to get a cut of the revenue. At the center of the dispute between Stone and the appeals board is "what's known as possessory interest, or the extent to which the 49ers privately benefit from using tax-exempt Levi's and how much the team should pay in property taxes for that benefit." The board concluded that possessory interest in the stadium "should be split 50-50 between the city and the 49ers." However, Stone "argues the team should pay" 100% (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 5/21).

TEAM-FRIENDLY DEAL: In Sacramento, Ben Wieder notes while the 49ers "do not receive ticket revenue from non-football events, Stone argued in the filing that a variety of arrangements limit how much the stadium authority actually brings in for those events." A 49ers-controlled management company is "paid to book all non-football events and the team brings in revenue during those events from 'exclusive areas,' such as a steakhouse, the team store and the team museum." Much of the stadium authority's remaining revenue is "earmarked for paying down" more than $600M in "debt that the county took out to finance construction of the stadium, which was approved by Santa Clara voters" in '10 (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/21).