SBD/March 4, 2011/Franchises

Officials Urge Goldwater Not To Sue Over Hulsizer's Coyotes Deal

Bettman says he has not set deadline for Glendale to complete Coyotes deal
Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, Greater Phoenix Economic Council President Barry Broome and others Thursday "called on the conservative watchdog Goldwater Institute to back off its threat to possibly block in court Glendale's agreement" with prospective Coyotes buyer Matthew Hulsizer, according to Rebekah Sanders of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The institute is "concerned the city's deal amounts to a government subsidizing a private business." Glendale is "ramping up public pressure on Goldwater to make its lawsuit intentions clear, saying the uncertainty is inflating the city's borrowing costs to finance its deal." Scruggs said the city is at "a critical juncture." Sanders notes Glendale "must sell bonds to pay Hulsizer $100 million, among many elements of the deal, in exchange for the right to charge for parking during arena events." The agreement "would keep the Coyotes in Glendale through 2041." However, if Glendale "can't complete financing soon, the National Hockey League would relocate the team." It is "not clear how much time is left." Scruggs said that "it had 'run out' but later that the league had set no deadline" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/4). NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Thursday said that he "hasn't set a pull the plug date for the Coyotes-Glendale-Hulsizer deal but the NHL would ... at some point start looking at alternatives" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/3). In Winnipeg, Ted Wyman notes True North Sports & Entertainment Chair Mark Chipman and his partners "had a deal in place to buy the team and move it to Winnipeg last spring, before an agreement was reached to extend the stay in Arizona, and it's believed it could be easily resurrected" (WINNIPEG SUN, 3/4).

TRYING TO KEEP THE PEACE: ESPN.com's Scott Burnside reported the NHL has "hired a consultant, John Kaites, to work with the Goldwater people to find some common ground on how the lease deal with Hulsizer might get worked out and allow Hulsizer to buy the team from the NHL." Kaites worked with White Sox and Bulls Chair Jerry Reinsdorf "on his failed bid to buy the Coyotes." Sources described the Goldwater role "as delaying and interfering as opposed to proactive and helpful." Glendale officials believe that the loss of the team "ultimately would cost the city and its taxpayers $510 million." Burnside: "If the Goldwater Institute is really about protecting the rights of taxpayers, wouldn't you think it would want to work with the city of Glendale to avoid that kind of devastating loss?" (ESPN.com, 3/3). The GLOBE & MAIL's Stephen Brunt writes Goldwater "may not even need to sue to make its point." Brunt: "Simply by declining to say that it won't -- and refusing to put a timetable on any final decision -- it has made the bond issue an extraordinarily risky proposition" (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/4).
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Arizona Coyotes, Hockey, Franchises

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