Pleading Poverty

Something doesn't add up with the Diamondbacks' ballyhooed "cash call"

"He's [Colangelo] definitely sending out a good public relations message to potential free agents," Freedman says.

If the Diamondbacks don't make it to the World Series, Freedman says it is likely the team will seek to land one or two big-name free agents to put together a championship squad for 2000.

"They want to win, and they want to win now," he says. "They want to become a hot sports property not only in the U.S. but internationally."

Jerry Colangelo isn't talking to New Times about his team's $24 million "cash call."
Doug Hoeschler
Jerry Colangelo isn't talking to New Times about his team's $24 million "cash call."

Colangelo has taken steps to increase the Diamondbacks' international exposure through his investment in, a Phoenix-based, publicly traded company that produces a Spanish/English Web site.

Colangelo controls the Diamondbacks through his majority interest in AZPB Incorporated, which in turn is the general partner in AZPB Limited Partnership.

AZPB Incorporated has a 1 percent share in the $198 million limited partnership. Once the limited partners are repaid their investments plus interest, AZPB's share in the Diamondbacks' increases to 25 percent. Colangelo stands to make a fortune if he can repay the limited partners.

Most of Colangelo's limited partners are major Arizona corporations that can easily absorb $1 million capital calls such as the one issued this month.

In addition to Phoenix Newspapers, the limited partners include Viad, Circle K, Arizona Public Service Company, Phelps Dodge Corporation, Bank One, Wells Fargo Bank, BankAmerica, America West Airlines, Discount Tire, Swift Transportation, Pulitzer Publishing Company, Finova Corporation and Kenilworth Investments (a company owned by Nike chairman Phil Knight).

While the corporations don't flinch at another $1 million capital call, how much have taxpayers gotten out of the deal?

Last year, the Maricopa County Stadium District collected $1.5 million in park-user fees from the Diamondbacks.

At that rate, it will take 158 years before taxpayers will get back the $238 million they shelled out for the ballpark.

Contact John Dougherty at his online address:

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