SBD/July 10, 2012/Franchises

Proposed Anti-Coyotes Voter Referendum Could Face Legal Fight Over Signatures, Due Date

Organizers of the "anti-Coyotes referendum may not have enough signatures to get on the ballot, and they could face a big legal fight with the city of Glendale over how many signatures are needed and when the petitions are due," according to Mike Sunnucks of the PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL. Local residents Ken Jones and Joe Cobb are "trying to collect enough voter petition signatures to get a Coyotes referendum on the November ballot." They "want city voters to void" a $300M, 20-year arena deal with the Coyotes and prospective Owner Greg Jamison. Jones yesterday "wouldn't say how many signatures they've collected or if he has enough signatures right now to make the ballot." The Glendale City Council approved the measure on June 8. Jones said that he was "told by the city" the petitions were due yesterday. However, he said that he is "not turning in petitions" yet because he "believes he has until July 16." That will "likely set up a court fight over the deadline" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/9).

BACKUP PLANS: In N.Y., Fernanda Santos writes the Coyotes "once seemed like a great investment to Glendale, but now they are perhaps the most tortured example of the perils of public funding for privately held teams." Glendale City Council member Manny Martinez said, "If there's anyone to blame for this mess, it's us because we voted to pay all this money to bring the Coyotes here. We thought it would be a good deal." If Jamison "does not buy the team, the NHL will have to decide whether to operate the Coyotes for one more year in Glendale, somehow arrange a move to Quebec City or elsewhere, or even suspend the franchise for the 2012-13 season before reactivating it somewhere else." The Coyotes had the league's "lowest attendance in the regular season" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/10).

WAITING GAME: In Phoenix, Sarah McLellan notes free agent RW Shane Doan "refused to entertain offers when 11 teams called during the first week of free agency, waiting to make any decisions" until the petitions were due yesterday. However, "little clarity surfaced on Monday, leaving Doan's future still unresolved." Lagardere Unlimited agent Terry Bross, who represents Doan, said, "I don't feel like we're any closer to a resolution." McLellan writes the "uncertainty that continues to surround Jamison's bid has paused the negotiation process for Doan, but that could change soon should he decide to explore other teams" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/10).
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