Goldwater warns Glendale about proposed arena-management fee

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Earlier today we wrote about the Goldwater Institute and pondered whether the taxpayer watchdog group would legally challenge the $17 million arena-management fee that the City of Glendale has tentatively approved payable to the Phoenix Coyotes to help facilitate a sale of the club to Greg Jamison.

Shortly after our post, the Goldwater president Darcy Olsen released the following statement:

“Although the Council approved an arena management fee in the budget Tuesday, nothing requires the Council to spend all or any part of it. The city could sign an arena management contract for less than that amount or for no amount at all if the city decides to manage the arena itself or put it out for competitive bidding. That said, we do believe this arena management fee is legally questionable if it is far greater than the value of the services to be provided. Additionally, Glendale taxpayers may choose to pursue future action to contest the fee by referendum. The Goldwater Institute cannot authoritatively comment on the legality of the deal until we and Glendale taxpayers can see the details. However, we are encouraged by reports that this deal will not include a massive up-front payment to help the buyer purchase the team, and we hope that the city will reach a deal that comports with the law and protects the interests of Glendale taxpayers.”

So basically Goldwater doesn’t have a problem with anything…yet. But if a $17 million payment is indeed part of the deal, Glendale better be prepared to justify it.

You have to laugh, really. A government praying nobody will stop it from handing millions of dollars to a private business. It’s pretty funny. Except for the taxpayers. Bit less funny for them.