SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers secretly talked with Santa Clara County officials about building a football stadium more than a year before the team announced its intention to relocate there.
Correspondence between the 49ers and the officials dates to at least October 2005, and it continued through this fall as the team simultaneously attempted to broker a deal with San Francisco on a new stadium at Candlestick Point.
The San Francisco city attorney's office obtained the e-mails from Santa Clara officials after the team's Nov. 9 news conference announcing its intention to relocate.
The documents suggest there were confidential meetings, requests for a soil report on land near the proposed stadium site in the city of Santa Clara, and other discussions.
The 49ers said they were always up front that Santa Clara was a backup plan should any deal with San Francisco collapse.
But aides to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom have accused the team of negotiating dishonestly. The abrupt announcement that the team would move scuttled the city's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.