Santa Clara wins legal dispute with 49ers over stadium rent

Levi's Stadium. 

The public agency that owns Levi's Stadium has won a legal victory in its dispute with the San Francisco 49ers over the team's rent, the city said in a news release.

An arbiter last week denied the 49ers' request to reduce their annual rent by $4.25 million. Instead, the team's rent will increase by $238,000 to $24.7 million, according to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.

In March 2016, the 49ers requested the rent reduction to $20.25 million per year. The City Council unanimously refused the reduction, and the 49ers filed for arbitration.

The city said the decision will allow it to maintain its accelerated pace of paying down the stadium's debt. The Stadium Authority also will receive back pay for rental payments owed and attorneys' fees and costs. 

"With the success of the City Council (acting as the Stadium Authority) and the new city administration, there is a new balance of power that puts the taxpayers and their representatives in charge," Santa Clara Mayor Lisa M. Gillmor said in the release. 

"Unfortunately, the 49ers have a record of withholding documents and payments from the Stadium Authority. ... On behalf of the Stadium Authority board, we will work to ensure timely payments of these public funds owed to the Stadium Authority and continue to hold the 49ers accountable to the public and Stadium Authority for issues important to Santa Clara."

Representatives for the 49ers could not be immediately reached for comment.