Suite Deal

Developer offers city subsidy if Crowne Plaza ownership will sell

TR: Why does he think that?

SC: Um, because he thinks -- in order to put together such a deal, he would think there would have to be some level of trust between the parties and dealings and good faith.

TR: That's what I'm suggesting. You don't need to have any good faith or trust with the city, because they're not involved. I'm suggesting that Opus, Collier and the Crowne Plaza work together to find a buy -- the logical buyer -- and to come to terms on price, subject to that new buyer cutting a deal with Phoenix, the City of Phoenix.

Steve Cohn, outside the Crowne Plaza.
Paolo Vescia
Steve Cohn, outside the Crowne Plaza.
Sheryl Sculley, deputy city manager.
Sheryl Sculley, deputy city manager.

SC: Oh, Opus and Collier are going to be affected by things that we do in the lawsuit and otherwise.

TR: Yeah.

SC: Maybe not favorably. We can't really determine that without discussing what we intend to do, which we're not gonna do right now. Um but, some of it they probably aren't going to like real well. Uh, because of that, I get concerned about behaving in hypocritical kind of ways.

TR: No, but all you're saying is that your action against the city may adversely affect us.

SC: No, no, uh-uh.

TR: And we're not party to your action, right?

SC: You're not party to the action, and I don't anticipate that you will be party to the action and I don't anticipate that you'll be party to any other action that we may or may not bring. But what we're going to --

TR: Why is it hypocritical, then, to try to work with us to try to come up with a solution that makes everybody happy?

SC: Um.

TR: I don't know why that would be hypocritical. I mean, you're basically . . .

SC: Because if . . . to the extent that there are subsidies involved and I end up involved in that in one way or another, I get concerned about that. I don't think the city has a right to do what the city is doing.

TR: If you get out of the situation because of it, you think that's a bad reflection on you?

SC: Well, I don't know. If I was really that concerned about reflections on me, I probably wouldn't have started this in the first place because certainly some of the publicity I've gotten has not been that favorable.

TR: Right, true.

SC: Um, so it's not a purely, a reflection type of thing. There's kind of other things going on here. It's an integrity sort of thing. This may surprise you, I actually have some. I know that based on some of the individuals that I've been dealing with that it doesn't exist to any extent in this city. But I actually don't like doing things that I don't think are the right thing to do.

TR: And you don't think that if you sold the building [for] $40 million, let's say that's a number that was acceptable to you.

SC: I won't sell it for $40 million, I told you.

TR: Okay, $43 million is what the Starwood deal was. For $43 million you decide you're gonna sell the hotel and then, let's say, Host Marriott goes and makes a deal with the city for a $15 million subsidy, to make the deal work. You think there's some, you compromise your ethics there?

SC: If Host Marriott comes to me and says they'll pay me $43 million for the hotel, on some level, what they do with the city is between them and the city.

TR: There you go. That's my point.

SC: Um, unless I'm in some way brought into it or know about it. In which case, I end up having a problem.

TR: If you knew they were gonna require a subsidy to make the deal work, you'd have a problem with it?

SC: Kind of. I mean, if they come to me with a clean $43 million deal and they do it within the next few weeks, then I'll probably take it. If they go beyond that, I can tell you the price isn't going to come down.

TR: What happens in the next two weeks?

SC: You'll find out.

TR: You got a big renovation planned or something?

SC: No. No. It's a matter of I become more invested in things and as I become more invested and as I do other things, I become less willing to want to sell the hotel.

TR: Let me uh . . . so, tell me about the list, I mean, can I talk to Mark [Steve Cohn's brother] about --

SC: Sure.

TR: About can he share anybody on that list?

SC: You can. I mean, I don't, I don't know . . . I don't think Mark is going to buy into the fact that you can deliver the subsidy. But for sure you can talk to him about the list.

TR: That's the one thing I know I can.

SC: Why? Has Sheryl [Sculley] said so?

TR: Well, not only Sheryl. I think we have the council's unanimous support. If we can resolve this thing. The Embassy goes forward. The Marriott goes forward. We have a new and improved Crowne Plaza hotel renovated for 10 million bucks more? Fuckin' that'd be the easiest goddamned decision they ever made in their life. I guarantee it. I'd put my . . . ya know, I'd bet you any amount, no limit, I can deliver 10 million bucks.

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