The good news for hockey fans is that the deal to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale must be close since the Goldwater Institute is finally ready actually do something.
"The deal has not been signed by the parties yet but is expected to close soon," their statement announcing their intent to sue said.
What their statement doesn't say is that the deal is illegal based on the two claims they've been all over the local and Canadian media fussing about.
Darcy Olsen, GWI CEO, has repeated said that the city can't buy parking rights it already owns and her second point has been about the projections for how much revenue the parking fees would generate.
But wouldn't you know it, in their statement today opposing the deal they don't mention either item. All this bluster and interference and loud public claims about why the deal is illegal have suddenly disappeared now that the deal is close to happening.
To save face, they are going to find some other issues to sue about. That will at least keep their name out there as long as they can.
A few more thoughts on this mess:
- I am no fan of public money supporting private corporations. I don't like subsidies for the banking, corn or oil industries and lots of other things our tax payer money goes for. I probably wouldn't have supported the city of Glendale using their money to build the arena to begin with but at the same time, public money has been used to build the ballpark for the Diamondbacks and the arena for the Suns too so this isn't exactly new ground.
- Would it be better for Glendale if Hulsizer bought the team without using $100 million from the city? Of course. But this is what the market demanded to keep the team in town and get the deal done. There were no other buyers and Hulsizer had the city over a barrel. It sucks, but it's the deal the city made and that's their job to do. They are elected by the people of Glendale and are responsible to them. The citizens of Glendale have had plenty of time to object. GWI isn't based on Glendale and has no dog in this fight other than what they gain by causing trouble.
- GWI out of one side of its mouth, says that Hulsizer isn't putting his money at risk but out the other side talks about how much money the team has lost and will lose. Hulsizer is coming up with $70 million to purchase the team over and above the $100 million from selling the parking rights to the city. He's also on the hook for all future operating losses for this "horrible" investment. He's also going to share profits with the city should he manage to turn the team around and he's paying rent on the building and has agreed to buy the arena for $40 million in 30 years times. He also can't leave during the next 30 years (sorry Winnipeggers) without paying several hundred million in fees for breaking the lease.
- The $97 million Hulsizer is being paid to manage the building is no hand out. That's money the city has to spend anyway to keep the building in operation. Not even GWI has suggested that's not a fair market price for those services.
- GWI has raised all kinds of fuss in a campaign that more resembles an election than any kind of legitimate grass roots citizen concerns. Even their public statement today uses the term "back room deal" which is a patently false claim suitable of a political campaign. The deal was voted on in public by the elected officials of Glendale. Where's the back room in that?
- GWI spent the last few weeks scaring off potential investors and publicly opposing the deal making two claims about the legality of the deal which, when it came time, they've completely dropped without even a mention. What little credibility they had, is completely gone.
- If by chance, the city and the NHL were stupid enough to do a deal with Hulsizer that isn't legal under state law then they deserve everything they have coming to them. But now, at least, GWI will have to actually stop the bluster and put their cards on the table and as we've already seen, they've been bluffing so far. There's no reason to think they are holding any more aces.