Glendale Reports Raise Coyotes Questions

Two recently released reports in Glendale, Ariz., are forecasting vastly different outcomes from a deal that will use nearly $200 million in public funds to keep the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes in the Arena.

City councilors approved the deal in December. The agreement grants new owner and Chicago businessman Matt Hulsizer $100 million for rights to parking lot fees and another $97 million to operate the city-owned venue over the next six years.

The studies, released after the council made its decision, have raised red flags for some officials who’ve questioned whether sufficient information was provided to make an informed decision, the Arizona Republic reported.

In one report by TL Hocking and Associates, the city is expected to collect $251 million over 30 years, which would be just enough to cover bond payments with interest, the paper said.

Another study by Walker Parking Consultants paints a far grimmer picture, reportedly finding that the city would only collect between $60 million and $85 million in the first 25 years.

Despite the news, Mayor Elaine Scruggs told the Republic that even without the reports, the council was presented with information behind closed doors that cemented the decision.

But Joyce Clark, a councilwoman who voted against the deal, told the paper she wished the studies were released sooner.
“We never even heard about the Walker report,” she said, adding that she would have liked to discuss why officials “thought the Hocking study was sufficient.”

Representatives for local conservative think-tank the Goldwater Institute also questioned why the reports weren’t released to the public before the vote.

“We and the public have a right to see everything that the city is looking at to justify why this is a good deal for the city,” attorney Carrie Ann Sitren said.

The Goldwater Institute has an ongoing lawsuit against Glendale to turn over documents related to its dealings with the Coyotes.