Lodging Complaints

The best-run city on Earth may turn the Marriott rip-off into a cause celebre

"I struggled with the process, like a number of my colleagues," Gordon says. Councilman David Siebert is on the record as having the same rationale.

I say that was a cop-out. So does Councilman Sal DiCiccio, the sole "nay" on the Marriott deal. And so does his mother. DiCiccio says she called him after the vote, to say--in her thick Italian accent, "To spite this one man, they spite the whole city!"

Ever since last week's vote, DiCiccio has been loudly proclaiming his disgust at this abuse of the public trust. He's losing sleep over it, he told me. "It worries me as a citizen as much as it worries me as an elected official," he says.

DiCiccio's opponents, who are legion, are quick to point out that despite his frequent complaints about the emergency clause, DiCiccio himself has voted to invoke it--even on the Sumitomo deal. DiCiccio says that was a mistake, he's learned his lesson--but his colleagues have not.

Of course, none of DiCiccio's colleagues has announced exploring a congressional bid, as DiCiccio has.

The irony, of course, is that, emergency clause or no, there still may never be a Marriott in downtown Phoenix. After the council vote last week, Cohn didn't miss a beat. He's already talking about suing the city over the deal. Even if the courts don't immediately put the deal on hold, pending litigation, the question remains: What financier is going to want to issue $83 million in bonds to build a hotel, under such vexatious circumstances?

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