Judge Confirms City's Lease With Jamison Not Immediately Effective After June 8 Council Vote
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink has “yet to rule whether the Glendale City Council's approval of a Phoenix Coyotes deal should be invalidated, but he wanted one change immediately,” according to Lisa Halverstadt of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Fink ordered Glendale to “make it clear the deal didn't garner enough council support to make it effective on the day of the June 8 vote, opening the door for a possible ballot initiative against the 20-year lease agreement with Coyotes suitor Greg Jamison.” The city included “an emergency clause in its lease agreement with Jamison to make it immediately effective but only four council members voted in favor of the arena lease.” Fink said, "There was a request that I invalidate the entire ordinance. I'm only willing to say (the emergency clause) is inoperable." Fink said that he “expects to issue a formal ruling in the coming days.” Glendale could have “shielded itself from such an attempt had five of seven council members approved the deal.” Now Glendale's $324M lease agreement with Jamison “will be effective early next month unless it's halted by a referendum or the judge's ruling.” It was not immediately clear “whether the Tuesday hearing or a possible ballot measure could impact” the NHL's efforts to sell the Coyotes to Jamison (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/20). NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday said that Fink’s ruling “shouldn’t affect the potential sale of the team.” Bettman: “I haven’t had a chance to either discuss it with the city or with Greg Jamison, but as of this moment, I don’t think it’s changed anything” (ESPN.com, 6/19).
STAYING ON TASK: In Phoenix, Mike Sunnucks noted opponents of Jamison’s deal “have 30 days from the June 8 council vote to collect 1,862 signatures to get a Coyotes deal referendum on the November ballot.” The move could “essentially kill Jamison’s bid” to buy the team from the NHL either by “squelching the favorable arena deal or scaring off investors by dragging out the process.” A source said, “That’s their real goal” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/19).