The Goldwater Institute will be seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent Glendale city council from voting on an arena management deal that could keep the NHL Coyotes in Phoenix. Institute president Darcy Olsen issued a statement Thursday night saying that, “Arizona’s Open Meetings Law and multiple court orders require the city to make public all documents related to the proposed contract at least 24 hours before a Council vote is taken, which it has not done … Per respecting Open Meetings Law requirements, the Goldwater Institute will be requesting a temporary restraining order to prevent the Glendale City Council from voting on the contract Friday morning.”
Glendale officials were prepared to vote on a tax payer funded, arena management deal that would enable buyer Greg Jamison to purchase the Coyotes. The agreement would see the city pay out a total $300 million U.S. over 20 years for Jamison to manage the city-owned Jobing.com arena.
Earlier Thursday, the Goldwater Institute published a letter to Glendale mayor Elaine Scruggs and council members with an opening paragraph that noted the city was considering something that “will add substantially to its existing financial obligations, at a time when it is overloaded with debt and has had to cut city services and lay off city workers …”
The letter raised questions over actual cost minus capital expense, parking rights and the city’s decision to adopt the deal “as an emergency measure, which would deprive Glendale citizens of their right to refer the matter to a vote.”
Glendale council was slated to meet Friday to examine the deal one last time then decide on it. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly were to be in Glendale to talk to council members.
“We hope that these inquiries will assist the Council in its deliberations over the proposed deal. We further urge you to not to rush to a vote,” the Goldwater Institute’s letter stated. “The terms of the 100-page proposal were released to the public for the first time on Monday, and not all the exhibits and associated documents have been released yet. There should be an adequate public comment period …”
The Arizona Republic has reported that no other professional sports team in the area – the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks or Phoenix Suns – receives tax-funded subsidies to operate its facility.