Auditor Quits Over Gila River Arena

A dispute about changes made to an overdue audit of  has caused an assistant Glendale, Ariz., auditor to resign her position and an inquiry into her boss’s role that found no wrongdoing. 

Photo: Paul Kucher
in Glendale, Ariz. 

Andrea McDermott-Fields resigned in April, according to documents obtained by the Arizona Republic, claiming changes made to the audit by City Auditor Candace MacLeod weren’t acceptable to her and that the auditor had a conflict of interest.

The audit matters because a 2013 agreement between the city and IceArizona, which manages 20,000-capacity Gila River Arena, allows the Arizona Coyotes hockey team to move after the 2017-18 season if losses amount to $50 million or more, according to the paper. The Coyotes, which barely escaped last place in the NHL last year, lost $34.8 million in the first year of the management agreement, and even an increase in concerts and other non-hockey events during fiscal year 2014-15 likely won’t help much.

Glendale is to pay IceArizona $15 million per year, or $225 million over 15 years, to manage the arena if the team remains in the city. The letter of resignation triggered an inquiry into the audit by the city. Human resources director Jim Brown reportedly concluded the audit changes made by MacLeod were proper, but that McDermott-Fields’ “documentation was inaccurate, incomplete, unclear, in some cases inflammatory, and at times was based on (McDermott-Fields’) opinion, which had not been confirmed with the city attorney or others,” according to the Republic. The inquiry also found that McLeod didn’t violate city conflict-of-interest policies. Her husband reportedly did some contracted broadcasting work for the team until 2011.