by Kaylee Hultgren | February 01, 2008

Dan Fenton



Dan Fenton

In somewhat of a surprise, Team San Jose, the current manager and operator of the San Jose (Calif.) McEnery Convention Center and Cultural Facilities, won the city council’s approval last December to negotiate a new five-year contract, despite a swirl of controversy.

The group has been under scrutiny of late for failing to meet targets specified in its $60 million management contract, which began in 2004. Last June, a report from a civil grand jury recommended that the city issue a request for proposal to seek a new operator.

Team San Jose has increased revenues by 67 percent since taking over the city-run facilities. However, the agency’s overall performance was thrown into question when a city audit revealed an operating loss of $3.3 million -- nearly twice the amount originally projected -- for fiscal year 2006-’07.

Some city council members also were concerned about a potential conflict of interest in that Team San Jose is chaired by Dan Fenton, who also is president and CEO of the San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau.

According to Paul Krutko, chief development officer for the city, “The council requires a clearer understanding of the nature of the relationship between the two entities, particularly how one budget affects the other and how money is flowing through.”

City representatives will examine that relationship and report their findings to the council in March. Krutko indicated that one change might be to subcontract management of the 3,001-seat Civic Auditorium “to someone with more experience.”

For his part, Fenton said, “We’re thrilled with the outcome. We think that the city council and both boards of directors were very clear in their support of Team San Jose.”