Glendale approves arena management deal for Coyotes
The city of Glendale has voted in favor of an arena management fee agreement that will most likely keep the Phoenix Coyotes in the Valley for the next 20 years.
The measure passed by a 4-2 vote.
The measure, passed on Friday, was highly contested by both residents of Glendale and the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank.
The measure would raise taxes in Glendale, some as high as a 32 percent increase.
"It's a big hit to businesses," said Glendale resident Joan Mahon. "We're so close to other cities. All we have to do is drive a half-mile up the street and go somewhere else."
However, some residents said it's time to accept the fact that the Coyotes are here to stay.
"The Coyotes are not the only reason Glendale is having issues," said Josh Taylor. "They've had dozens of other decisions that probably weren't the smartest ones to make. They took the steps to bring the team here when [U.S. Airways Center] didn't work and Los Arcos didn't work."
Goldwater had attempted to prevent the vote by seeking a temporary restraining order, which was rejected.
Attorneys for the conservative think tank are expected to file another challenge on Monday, claiming the city has brokered a backroom deal.
"We absolutely will challenge this vote," said Carrie Ann Sitren, an attorney representing Goldwater.
In court, Sitren argued that Glendale has ignored their public-records request in failing to produce key financial documents in a timely manner.
Among the concealed reports are management-performance standards and the annual budget for Jobing.com Arena, Sitren said.
"We are concerned the deal violates the Arizona Constitution's gift clause which regulates tax subsidies for private businesses," Sitren said.
While Judge Cooper didn't grant the restraining order, Goldwater was pleased with her comments in court.
"If the city had complied with orders in the first place, (Judge Cooper) would not have said what she said today," Sitren said.
"She was very clear that the city was in contempt of court, violated court orders and if the deal is approved it will be struck down."
Goldwater President Darcy Olsen released a statement after the court proceedings:
"This morning, Judge Cooper denied the Goldwater Institute's motion for temporary restraining on the grounds that felt the court lacked the authority to block the vote. Simultaneously, she issued a strong warning to the City of Glendale about the implications of moving forward today, affirming the Goldwater Institute's contention that the city has committed 'clear violations' both of court orders and open meeting laws.
"She emphasized the court would be receptive to considering holding the city in contempt if the council moves forward with the vote, stating that sanctions would be in order. We hope the council will heed the judge's warning, comply with the law, and give the public sufficient time to review the council's proposed action."
Jim Cross, Reporter