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One less barrier to Coyotes sale — Glendale rejects sales-tax initiative

Jul 12, 2012, 12:39 PM EDT

Nashville Predators v Phoenix Coyotes - Game One Getty Images

Phoenix Coyotes fans got some good news yesterday evening when the City of Glendale rejected an initiative to place a sales-tax hike on a November referendum.

The city also declared the deadline had expired to hand in signatures for another initiative – this one to put the $324 million lease with Greg Jamison, the prospective owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, to a vote.

Why was it good news?

Well, without the tax hike, paying Jamison to manage city-owned Arena may not have been feasible. And without the lease, the deal’s a non-starter anyway.

Obstacles, as per usual, remain.

Sales-tax opponents could challenge the city’s rejection in court, and lease opponents believe the deadline to hand in signatures has yet to expire. So that could end up in court, too.

Oh, and we can’t forget about the Goldwater Institute, the taxpayer watchdog group that has yet to decide if it will sue Glendale for violating the state’s gift clause that prohibits government subsidies for corporations.

But hey, baby steps.

As NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly tells the Arizona Republic, fewer “legal uncertainties” can only help the sales process.

Daly also tells the Republic that Jamison is believed to have the money to close the purchase.

“Otherwise we would not be moving forward,” said Daly.

  1. rosselliott - Jul 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    The lease opponent’s referendum also reportedly suffers from a number of technical errors that should also require for it to be dismissed by the city. That would leave no legal reason to hold-up the lease agreement once the NHL and Jamison have finalized the sale (the lease can’t be enacted until Jamison actually owns the team…)

    • sal1117 - Jul 12, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      I say MOVE TO ATLANTA !!!!!! We need hockey back here, with a new fresh owner, not the LIARS who ruined it before !!!!!

  2. mclovinhockey - Jul 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    No one cares about the coyotes, horrible fan base with a decent team and an annoying goal horn. Move them to somewhere so the league can make money

    • ron05342 - Jul 12, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      First of all, this is an idiotic statement.

      Second of all, the Coyotes have a rabid fan base, its just not as big as it could be…or should be to survive.

      I see a lot of passion from Coyote fans, but to be truly “behind your team” they really need to attend games. The Coyotes had the worst attendance marks last season, and Kings fans were commenting that it was easy getting tickets to the WCF. That should NEVER happen.

      So the Coyote fans need to support their team not by words, but by action…go to the games, sell out that arena, and then more people will take them seriously.

  3. thenewraoulduke - Jul 12, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Well the tax petition people could to court . . . and they would lose. They didn’t properly fill out the forms and they made errors in the language of their petition and petitions have been thrown out for less.

    The anti lease agreement people could also go to court . . . and they would lose. The City sent them a letter explaining the reasons why the due date was what it was, it doesn’t matter that they were late in filing their paperwork.

    As for the gift clause, that would probably be struck down too, and the GWI may not want bad press considering they lost their Obamacare lawsuit recently, and they lost in their last lawsuit against the city. Hopefully they will give up before its too late.

  4. rupertslander - Jul 12, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    The apparent failure of the Jones/Cobb petition is certainly good news for Coyotes fans, but the sale process isn’t exactly home and dry just yet. GWI lawyers will litigate Glendale’s rejection of the petition, and although they will likely lose it is potentially a more complicated case than the last one, likely involving Cobb, Jones and city officials taking the stand to explain when the paperwork was available. If Jones and/or Cobb are willing to testify under oath that they were unable to obtain petitions when the City claims they could have, then the City’s lawyers will have to discredit that evidence.

    Even if the city can see off the petitions, they will still have to deal with a gift clause challenge from GWI. Even though as a matter of law the City probably has the upper hand here as well, time may not be on their side. It is by far the most complex litigation of all, so we are talking months not weeks to sort it all out.

    What if litigation drags into November? By then Glendale may have elected a new City Council opposed to the lease, if it is still not in effect they could simply repeal the ordinance.

    All of which puts Jamison and the league in a tough position. Daly, as usual for the league bosses is choosing his words very carefully. Saying you think the buyer has the money is not the same thing as saying you are certain he does. And the fact that Jamison’s investors are still a mystery is a major red flag. That probably rules out a traditional bank loan. Jamison could still buy the team if the league itself loans him the money, which isn’t impossible, but that would mean the league waiting to get most of its money back. And who absorbs the potential losses then? Jamison by himself probably can’t afford to, and the BoG probably aren’t willing to?

    • thenewraoulduke - Jul 12, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      you have the first part wrong. Cobb and Jones have the burden of proof not the city

      And recently there was a story in Fox Sports Arizona where that Cobb and Jones made similar mistakes which could disqualify their petition:

      • rupertslander - Jul 12, 2012 at 4:24 PM

        Re-read my original post – I never said the City had the burden of proof. I said Cobb and Jones may testify and/or file affidavits that they had trouble getting the paperwork. Sworn testimony is considered evidence, and unless the City can demonstrate that said evidence is not credible, could well be deemed proof on a balance of probabilities which is the legal standard here.

        As for the alleged “mistakes” – the City as we know made its own share of technical errors enacting the original ordinance, but the courts didn’t see that as grounds to quash it. I expect therefore that the courts should offer ordinary citizens similar leeway – or are you trying to say that that the courts will and ought to allow the municipal government to stamp the jackboot over the citizenry’s right to vote because their petition has a few minor glitches.

  5. thenewraoulduke - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    @rupertslander. Sworn testimony alone would not be enough considering it has to be beyond a reasonable doubt. If Cobb and Jones had for instance paperwork that showed they attempted to get what they right away then it would be different but considering there isn’t even a record of them visiting the clerk until the day they got their forms which they didn’t even turn in until the 20th then yeah they are going to need more then just their testimony.

    I’m also interested to hear what errors the city made in enacting their original ordinance? Also a misrepresentation of the issue like saying that the petition will reverse the tax is something more then a “minor glitch.”

    • ron05342 - Jul 13, 2012 at 2:19 AM

      The “reasonable doubt” standard is for criminal matters, not civil. “Preponderance of the evidence” is the standard for civil matters.

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