Pima County World View Spending Balloons Despite Court Ruling

Despite a ruling in Pima County Superior Court last week, in which Judge Woods ruled that Pima County had violated Arizona’s procurement law and the Gift Clause, the Pima County Board of Supervisors will likely approve the purchase of an expensive altitude test chamber for World View Enterprises today. The purchase is tucked away in the Supervisor’s Consent Agenda.

The Supervisor’s meeting is scheuled for 9:00 a.m. at 130 W. Congress Street, in downtown Tucson.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods struck down Pima County’s contract with World View last week. That contract requires taxpayers to foot the bill for World View’s new facility. The judge found that the County was required to have the building appraised, hold a public auction, and set the lease rate no lower than 90% of the appraised value.

The County ignored those requirements; therefore, the lease with World View will be cancelled.

Yet, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry is forging ahead with an appeal and the latest massive purchase.

“I am shocked this would be on the board agenda for consideration given the ruling by Judge Woods last week, which struck down this lease as illegal under state law. There was barely enough time for the ink to dry on the Judge’s ruling before Chuck Huckelberry threw yet another curveball at the taxpayers of Pima County. You just can’t make this stuff up,” stated Supervisor Ally Miller.

The agenda items reads:

Amendment of Award : Contract No. CT-FM-16-241 , Amendment No. Seven (7). This amendment extends the term of the contract to February 28, 2018 without increase to the contract amount.

Administering Department: Facilities Management.
This Amendment allows for additional time to obtain and install an altitude test chamber intended to simulate the
conditions of space. This custom piece of equipment manufactured to the client’s specifications requires nine (9)
months of manufacturing time. The equipment was not ordered until the very end of the project to ensure that there
were sufficient funds within the budget to allow for the purchase. This equipment, which is integral to a portion of the operation, will be installed by the contractor once it arrives on site. World View has been occupying the facility since December 23, 2016.

Procurement Method:
Subsequent to approved Solicitation No. 206214 conducted pursuant to A.R.S. § 34-606, the Board of Supervisors approved award of contract on January 19, 2016, in an amount not to exceed $12,400,000.00 including fixtures and equipment and an $800,000.00 contingency for a contract term from January 19, 2016, through February 28, 2017.

The Board of Supervisors approved authority for the Procurement Director to sign all contracts and amendments within the dollar and term limits approved.

Amendment No. One (1) incorporated GMP-1, GMP-2 and GMP-3 in the amount of $4, 151 ,850.46.
Amendment No. Two (2) incorporated GMP-4 in the amount of $1 , 152, 134.32.
Amendment No. Three (3) incorporated GMP-5 in the amount of $90,691 .77.
Amendment No. Four (4) incorporated GMP-6 and GMP-7 in the amount of $6,771 ,856.84.
Change Order No. Five (5) facilitated the addition of a humidification system and landscaping and increased the contract amount by $131 ,651.02.
Amendment No. Six (6) reallocated Contractor Contingency funds amongst GMP Nos. 1-7 to an Owner’s
Contingency component in GMP No. 7.

The Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit against the County on behalf of Pima County taxpayers.

In November 2015, Pima County voters resoundingly rejected six ballot measures that proposed to let the County borrow hundreds of millions of dollars for economic development and tourism. Two months later, County officials secretly negotiated a deal to borrow $15 million to build World View’s headquarters, without taxpayer approval.

The deal used government-owned buildings as collateral to borrow money to build a 135,000 square-foot headquarters and balloon pad for World View. The company planned to charge $75,000 per balloon ride, but was only required to pay the County a fraction of the market lease rate for a custom-designed building.

Related articles:

Miller Exposes Goldwater Dim View Of Pima County’s World View Deal

Pima County World View Deal “Boggles The Mind”

Phoenix-based Lawson Misused Customer Funds, Pima Revenue Bonds Involved

Pima County Financial Woes Deepen

Pima County Taxpayers To Pony-Up For Code Name “Curvature”

Bronson Pima County Campaign Violations Were Extensive

The World View deal also violates the state constitution. The Arizona Constitution makes it illegal for the County to “give or loan its credit in the aid of, or make any donation or grant, by subsidy or otherwise, to any . . . corporation.” In Turken v. Gordon the Arizona Supreme Court decided that public expenditures must be for public purposes. The Court held that general economic improvement or potential job growth do not satisfy the Constitution.

The County conceded that it ignored Arizona laws that forbid counties from leasing land without auctioning it to the highest bidder. However, the County claimed economic development projects were exempt from this law. Judge Woods rejected that argument.

27 Comments

  1. Supervisor Christy and I both voted against the appeal. We also both voted against using “leftover” money to purchase a test chamber for World View. You can’t make it up folks!

    • Hey Ally, which of Huckelberry’s pockets did the money come out of for the equipment. Is World View going to buy anything? How many employees do they have on board now and what is the average salary? You know, the nice to know stuff?

  2. Dave P. My sentiments exactly! Unfortunately, as Bill T. put it, they will find a way to do what we voted them not to do.

    Never going to change as long as the good-ole-boys run this town and most of us know who they are. I’ve been here fifty five years and it hasn’t changed much.

  3. You get what you voted for ask Sharon Bronson. Lol yes time for a recall!!

    If you all join forces with the NO on Monsato groups it can be done.

    Some sacrifices must be made. First donations, volunteer time, DO NOT attack any and ALL challengers.

    Sii SE puede or do you just want to continue to complain on the ADI.

  4. Now he’s having the brand new Aerospace Parkway widened, so much for having your potholes fixed. This is YOUR punishment for not voting for the bonds last year. Bet you didn’t know how bad a person you are, shame on you.

    • Bill T, you are exactly right. All the cronies that I come into contact with were telling me how great the bond issue would be for labor, cities, etc. I asked them how about the taxpayer and they didn’t have an answer. Yea, lets tax the 8th poorest area in the nation some more and see how that works. SSDD in Pima County politics. The taxpayer doesn’t have a chance.

  5. It is hiding our heads in the sand to expect Huckleberry and his puppets on the Bd. Of Supervisors, Bronson, Elias, and Valadez, to act fiscally responsible this late in their corrupt game. Our only recourse is to recall one or more of the above named Bd. puppets so that Huckleberry can be stopped from continuing his improper practices, including his political vendetta against Supervisor Ally Miller who has exposed those practices for all to see.

  6. The ruling is for the land. Chuck and the gang can buy whatever pressure chambers that their constituents want. If they don’t want, then they can vote them off the island.
    While not underestimating the corruption of the county, one should not underestimate the stupidity of the majority of Pima County voters. Elections have consequences. In Pima County most of those consequences are negative.
    Suggestion, move at the earliest possible date, out of Pima County.

  7. as I posted last week, you can declare victory if you want, this block was predetermined to occur, their probably astounded that it’s taken this long! The judge as noted in my post is now free to pee on the electric fence for the effect of his judgement on this high flying boondoggle – taxpayers ; assume the position you so like to assume.

  8. Any attempt to wrap this as standard tax supported economic development gets thrown out the window once this goes beyond land and building. We’re buying EQUIPMENT for these yahoos!

    Any supervisor that votes for this should be held in criminal contempt.

  9. The court needs to issue a cease and desist order to stop huck from ignoring the first decision. What is wrong with this court system

  10. As a resident of the county, but, thank God, not the City, I have a stake in this obvious payoff. It is past time to take this board (the bobbleheads as described above) and bring them to justice. The corruption is so thick and easy to spot that it is embarrassing that they have been allowed to continue to meet and spend our money with no limits.

    Where is the District Attorney on this. Is she getting some of this money? And now that a judge has determined that the lease is void, HOW CAN CHUCKLEBERRY AMEND IT? That not only doesn’t make sense, but may (or should be) grounds for defalcation of public funds!

    • Too bad our four local TV News stations won’t go to the board or Chuckleberry and start demanding answers on camera. That would freak them out. All our press are weak kneed bootlickers, however.

      • The press is the most dishonest bunch of people. Shame on them. Why not prove me wrong? Interview the Dems on the County Board and Huckleberry and ask them tough questions.

        Why won’t you do it?

  11. This judge needs to throw Dingleberry and his loyal bubbleheads in jail on contempt charges.
    No balls, no baby…..

    TOoT

  12. Gee, we are going to buy a piece of equipment that costs almost as much as the building. Is it any wonder we can’t get our roads fixed? Wonder what pocket this money is going to come from? Oh wait, the taxpayers pocket. How utterly pathetic. Huckelberry has his own agenda and it isn’t to help the taxpayer, far from it. Laws, he doesn’t care about any stinking laws, the man thinks he is God in Southern Arizona and his three bobble heads make sure that he is right. How does it feel taxpayers. Laws, we don’t need no stinking laws, just give us more property tax, crappy roads and sewer fees and shut up.

  13. Once any government starts trying to decide economic winners and losers, economic issues become political issues and are treated accordingly. Chuck Huckleberry is determined to pay off his cronies in this matter, after all Gabrielle Giffords’ husband is involved. The new Pima Animal Control Center was approved by the taxpayers long before the backroom deal with Worldview and yet it languishes because there is no crony involved.

    When the court tells Pima County that this purchase was unlawful, what then? Is the County going to suddenly start obeying the law?

    Christopher Cole
    First Vice-Chair
    Pia County Libertarian Party

Comments are closed.