Court to Hear 49ers $30 Million Lawsuit

Team alleges that money earmarked for stadium project can't be shifted.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The proposed 49ers stadium in Santa Clara.

    A Tuesday court hearing is the first of potential road block in the 49ers plans to build a Santa Clara stadium since voters approved of a plan.

    The 49ers' brass filed a suit after the Santa Clara City Council Oversight Board, a confusing agency made up various county and city officials, voted last month to withhold $30 million in disputed stadium tax funds.

    Forty-Niners' management says withholding the funds is illegal while Santa Clara County officials were quick to distance themselves from the decision Tuesday saying they fully supported the 49ers' stadium project.

    "Recent events have confused the difference between the actions of the Santa Clara City Oversight Board and the County of Santa Clara," Santa Clara County executive Jeffrey Smith said in a statement. "The County Board of Supervisors and the County firmly support the Stadium Project and are anxious to see the project built.'

    The funds are not likely to derail the more than $1 billion stadium project but it represents a significant hurdle none the less.

    The total investment in question was not allowed to exceed $41.6 million and about $11.6 million of it was already disbursed before California dissolved redevelopment agencies, according to city records.

    That leaves the $30 million the 49ers are suing for.

    "This hearing was a step in the right direction, and we fully expect the court to take time to study the key issues in this case.  The team and the City of Santa Clara strongly believe this is about endorsing the vote cast by the citizens of the city in 2010 and honoring the financial commitment made to the stadium project.  We remain optimistic that when the merits of the case are heard, the court will support the people’s overwhelming decision," the team said in a statement released Tuesday night.