Judge rules in favor of Glendale arena management agreement

A Maricopa County Superior Court Judge ruled Thursday that Glendale’s arena management agreement with the potential buyer of the Phoenix Coyotes did not violate the City requirement to competitive bid contracts over $50,000. The $425 million deal was challenged by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of two Glendale taxpayers.

The lawsuit was brought before Judge Dean Fink to invalidate the ordinance based on the grounds that the City did not engage in competitive bidding as required by its city charter. The court denied the Institute’s request on the basis that arena management constitutes a “professional service,” which is exempt from competitive bidding requirements.

“We are disappointed in today’s decision,” said Goldwater Institute President Darcy Olsen. “But we are glad that Glendale taxpayers have taken matters into their own hands by working to refer the arena management deal to the ballot.”

Judge Fink ruled last week that an emergency clause printed in the ordinance that would have blocked Glendale taxpayers from referring the ordinance to the ballot was not in effect, signaling that referendum efforts could go forward. Glendale taxpayers have since been gathering petition signatures to refer the ordinance to the November 6, 2012 election ballot.

Opponents of the arena management deal have until July 16 to submit roughly 1,800 signatures.

“If the arena management deal goes into effect, we will examine its terms and determine whether it violates the subsidy ban in Arizona’s constitution,” said Olsen.

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