Surprise, surprise, the Goldwater Institute has rejected the concession announced by prospective Coyotes owner, Matthew Hulsizer. Just last night, Hulsizer went on TV during the Coyotes' game and said that he would guarantee $75 million of bond money the city would be using to help finance the deal.
Most people, including Arizona Senator John McCain and former Attorney General Grant Woods, thought that made it a "no-brainer" for the Goldwater Institute and expected them to stand down.
Since this entire affair has never been about protecting the interests of the Glendale tax payers, however, we are not surprised in the least that GWI has seen things in a different light. They remain committed to their own agenda which is clearly to drive the team out of town and gain notoriety for themselves in the process.
"Regrettably, however, the proposal fails to remedy the core legal violation at issue, leaving the expensive taxpayer gamble intact," they said in a statement released this evening.
Who knows where this goes from here. Perhaps the guarantee from Hulsizer will be enough to satisfy skittish investors and allow the bonds to be sold at a reasonable rate. Hopefully, that's what happens and the deal can go to court and be settled.
Just as likely, however, GWI's mere threat of legal action will be enough to drive up the price of the bonds and sink the deal. If that happens, the Coyotes could be gone without Goldwater ever having to prove their claims to a judge.
That scenario would be a travesty for the City of Glendale, who would be without the Coyotes as the anchor tenant for their new arena -- a potential loss of $500 million over the next 30 years.
GWI is accountable to no one beyond their Board of Directors, which includes the wife of Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick. The Diamondbacks, by the way, play in a building heavily financed by tax payer money. Principles be damned.
The Goldwater Institute doesn't have to be right on the actual issues to win this battle. All they have to do is raise enough fuss so the deal becomes untenable and the team leaves. That's the victory they are after, and clearly they are prepared to stop at nothing to get it.
The only way GWI is not in the wrong is if the deal somehow winds up in court and they win the case. If the city officials who have said countless times that the deal is legal under Arizona law are being dishonest about the details, they at least are accountable to the voters and at that point, deserve anything they get.
If GWI loses the case, they simply move on to pick a new fight somewhere, earning free publicity to put their name out to a small base of potential donors. In other words, they can't lose.
The only way the tax payers of Glendale can win now is if Hulsizer makes yet another concession (and at this point, why would he) or if the deal ever does get to court. GWI wins just by being a nuisance. They are holding the city hostage and have nothing to lose in this matter. That makes them the most dangerous kind of adversary, a combatant that doesn't fear death.
Meanwhile, in Winnipeg the legal experts and civic policy wonks will sit on their bar stools and laugh as they get one step closer to bringing back the team that fled their city in 1996. You would think fans of a city that lost a team would have more class than to revel in the potential misery of another town's loss. But in Canada all that matters is hockey, damn the rest.