The biggest was location. The Tapatio area is gorgeous, but it's not exactly accessible. Drivers take Seventh Street north until it runs into the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, just east of Sunnyslope; Gosnell literally blasted his way through several mountains to build the hotel and residences.

And the Waterin' Hole was far off the development's main drag. Hayenga was forced to market the saloon/eatery primarily to neighbors and guests at the Pointe's Hilton Hotel. Even they got careful instructions to "follow the blue line" painted on the street.

Hayenga says that from the beginning, she wanted an exit strategy. Rumors had begun to surface at the Waterin' Hole Racquet Club, where Hayenga was a member, that Gosnell intended to tear down the building and put in 120 apartments. She thought she could do better — she'd invest money into improving the place and try to save it. But she'd only go so far.

The Waterin’ Hole was an institution, but it was far off the beaten track.
Jamie Peachey
The Waterin’ Hole was an institution, but it was far off the beaten track.
The Waterin’ Hole in its heyday.
Courtesy of Gosnell Builders
The Waterin’ Hole in its heyday.

"I thought I could buy it, try to revive it, and if I can't revive it, I'll make sure I have a backup plan," she says.

Her plan: redevelop the site, perhaps as condominiums, perhaps as an addition to the Hilton Hotel.

Gosnell knew this, Hayenga says. The former president of Gosnell Builders, Rick Kafka, explained to her that the business had a "parachute clause," she says — if things got bad, she could always tear it down and build something else.

"You have a gun to the neighborhood's head," she claims Kafka told her, according to court documents. "If they don't support your business, you just build 120 apartment units on the property, and there is nothing they can do to stop you. It's already zoned for it."

Records show that Hayenga went three times to City Hall to discuss the zoning — once with Kafka.

During those visits, it all seemed very simple. The Waterin' Hole's acreage was zoned for up to 20 residential units per acre, meaning a total of 120 units, city planners told her. Condos or hotel rooms were both fine.

In March 1997, she closed on the property.

Not surprisingly, her ownership made little difference. Despite Hayenga's hands-on management and nearly $500,000 investment, the restaurant continued to lose money. And fewer and fewer people were playing tennis.

Something had to give.

Hayenga began talking to developers, one of whom accompanied her to City Hall. Again, she was given assurance that the property was zoned for up to 120 units.

She found herself in negotiations with Hilton. The company wanted to expand the hotel, and 120 "Hilton Garden Suites" would be a perfect substitute for the Waterin' Hole.

Ultimately, Hilton agreed to pay Hayenga $4.35 million in cash, due on the day of closing. It would be a huge profit — she'd paid just under $1 million for the acreage — and a straightforward deal. There was no zoning change needed, and, no matter how unhappy they were, there was no way the neighbors could stop the project.

What could possibly go wrong?

In February 2000, three years after the city had assured Miriam Hayenga her zoning was set, staffers suddenly announced they'd uncovered a serious problem.

Hayenga had been meeting regularly with Hilton brass, working through the details of the land sale. But then, in a meeting at City Hall with both Hayenga and Hilton, assistant city planner Steven Muenker explained that there was a big problem with their plan.

There weren't enough units left for development.

It took months to unravel what Muenker was talking about. But, as he finally explained, in 1979, The Pointe Tapatio had been allotted 2,147 residential units. As of early 2000, he explained, those units had almost entirely been used up.

Never mind the zoning on Hayenga's property. The entire Tapatio development had only 12 units left. Hayenga and Hilton could develop no more than 12 condos, or 12 hotel suites, without a major zoning change.

Hayenga was stunned. Not surprisingly, so was Hilton. All along, Hayenga had said she had the zoning to build a 120-unit hotel.

Hayenga had an option: She could ask the City Council to rezone the property and increase the cap. But the Tapatio residents were already annoyed at the prospect of losing their neighborhood eatery and tennis club. A zoning change would mean meetings at City Hall, bad publicity — and no guarantee of a happy ending.

Hilton walked away from the deal.

Miriam Hayenga's $4.35 million vanished into thin air.

Eventually, Hayenga did get a zoning change. It took nearly two years of hustling, about $30,000 in fees, and a pitched battle with her business' neighbors — and she still got much less than what they'd originally promised her. But finally, she was allotted 78 units.

During the battle, Hayenga's main source of income, the Waterin' Hole, was hit hard. No one wanted to book a party at a place that might be closed in a year. And to say that the neighbors didn't like the new plans is an understatement.

"I had someone try to run me over in the parking lot," Hayenga says. "People were pissed."

Hayenga kept her cool. Her partner, Mary Slaughter, marvels that even when the neighbors lined up with pitchforks to oppose the plan, Hayenga arranged for shuttles to get them to City Hall for meetings.

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The city of phoenix developmental services, WHAT A JOKE. No wonder why they are broke. Their left had don't know what their right hand is doing. Everyone of them has a different answer for you and they wiegh everything on whether you are someone everyone likes. If not, good luck.

Thomas Coletto
Thomas Coletto

To the Greater Phoenix Community,

I have come to truly realize that what I was doing for those two months was so terribly wrong. I can't begin to know where to start, but I will try.

After my best friend died of causes which are still unknown, I have had a void in my heart. Nothing in my life was more painful then loosing him, and I think apart of myself died with him.

I will not release his name, because I have already destroyed my name, my families name, my mother, my father, and my grandfather's name. I can only wonder if they will ever truly forgive me for what I have done, and who I associated with.

I associated with true evil, I know this because a member of the NSM Las Vegas Unit, is a self-proclaimed satanist, as is Scott Hume, leader of the Arizona National Socialist Movement.

He has a satanic symbol tattooed on his upper back, the 5 pointed star with a goat head. Why am I telling you this? Because I realized through my own research, how associating with these people was the most damning decision I could have ever made.

I am an Atheist, I chose not to believe in god for my own reasons. Scott tried to push satanism on me, many nights, we would talk over yahoo messenger, and he would ask me to accept a Nazi demon, it was just insane. And he would push it on me. Just as he did to join the NSM. Satan is true evil, and I fell into his trap.

I was indeed influenced, stupid, and I allowed myself to be brainwashed, by people who seemed, so kind, and honest, and true at heart. But I was wrong. I always wondered if they knew I was 1/8th Native American. Would they still have accepted me?

I realized that jewish people, are indeed people, each of us, all of us, including myself have shades of gray. And there are people who are evil. I can't begin to forgive myself for what I did. But I know that the jews were exterminated. I know it because my Grandfather liberated a death camp in WW2. He was in the 26th ID 328th Infantry Regiment. He rarely spoke of WW2 at all, but I remember him telling me that evil people in the war tried to kill an entire people for their belief in god.

I find it hard to look at myself in the mirror, go outside, show my face. I never hated anyone, regardless of my stances on Illegal Immigration. This is fact: I used to HATE Arpaio, because he violates the constitution which I so strongly stand to protect, EVERY day he violates it.

I was not allowed to vote because of my felony, luckily it goes away, once my sentence is up. I tried to VOTE in November, and I did. My name was not removed up until a few months ago. This is the truth, and I was SO proud I even took a cell phone picture.

I voted for Obama, who I now disagree with on most issues, I just never liked McCain. I was a Ron Paul guy.

But I remember the feeling that night, when he won. I felt so proud, because of what happened. History unfolded before my eyes. I voted for, and witnessed history before my eyes, and I was so proud, I remember the warmth I felt in my chest when he spoke after he had become President Elect.

Illegal Immigration is wrong, yes, and I was never for any amnesty. But I felt always that our laws are outrageous, and unfair. We need workers, we need hard workers like them. Especially since this hits so close to home. A very good friend of mine immigrated here from Holland when he was a boy. He was with us when we got arrested for vandalism. He was landed with a permanent felony, and after he serves his probation... He is getting deported, and he can never come back, or visit again.

Not only did my best friend die, but now another close friend is moving away, and I will never see his face again... The last time I saw his was at my best friends funeral. Our group was a strange one, at least people in school thought so. It was me, a kid from Holland, a black Muslim, and a few other guys.

His name was never released (the black muslim), he was tried as a juvuinale, and is now on his way to Harvard. I just wish I could still have a positive future. But I fear that since I was so brainwashed and so stupid, I may have destroyed my life in it's entirety...

You know, I wanted to become a Criminal Defense lawyer, for people who could not afford it. I planned to get my Journalism Degree, and then go to law school. But I also fear now that all of that is lost.

I have done some terrible things, but I can't forgive myself for this mistake. I know I am not evil, I never hated anyone. I grew up in a all white neighborhood in New York, there was one black student in my class. He turned out to be my best friend until I moved here when I was 5. And we still talk occasionally. But I only fear that he google's my name, and then I would loose another life time friend.

The damage I have done to myself, and my family is overwhelming... And my mind was just filled with things, that when I look back and think about them now... How stupid was I. Why did I join them? Why didn't I think? What pain and suffering have I caused?

I thank you for reading this ramble to those of you who did. If you wish to contact me on this matter please do so at

I hope that at least maybe someone could forgive me, and the mistakes I have made thus far.

Regards,Thomas Vito Coletto

Alexandra Seals
Alexandra Seals

I am as you read this going on a two year fight with city/government and all the good old boys cover up.I am a business owner been relocated by the city on the Automated Train System. After 2 years city has failed. I am still going through planning and all the development for my new site. This is a nightmare and I don�t know how some people get the jobs.To date I don�t know who is making the end decision. Is it Transit, Metro, City or Aviation FAA? All of them just playing a game. Any e-mail to any of the good old Boys, Gordon, Fairbanks, and McCain and or any City council is opened by the staff. There are the once answering your question and or looking into a case. All there getting back are watered down versions of how to cover up there lies, and keep there jobs. I am fighting city Hall, matter of fact Wednesday 3:00PM I will be there demanding some answerers from the good old boys on my case. So I do know how the game is been played.


Clearly, larger-scale commercial real estate well as litigating against others when you make sophomoric mistakes...isn't for rank amateurs. Glad she's sticking with tennis & small rentals in the future.


Wow what a shocker! The City of Phoenix being anything but streight forward and honest? All it takes is for someone, (not even a Lawyer)to look into the details at any of these meetings and they too will see that "cover-up" is a common practice in this City Government. The more you know doesnt always mean you are informed. It only means that you now know too much.


The title mentions nothing about her sexual preference, and it is mentioned only in passing at the beginning of the article. Her gender on the other hand, merely indicates that Az's development community is a bunch of good ol' boys. This doesn't mean that she wouldn't have had the same issues if she were a male that just wasn't part of the 'network'... I think you're overreacting on this headline.


What did any of this have to do with her gender or sexual preference ,as the title of the article suggests? Come on now, don't resort to that to gain readership!

Fly on the Wall
Fly on the Wall

I've worked in some of the largest law firms contract law divisions in the city and the collusion between the attorneys, developers and city planning and zoning is shocking. These people are disgusting and the State's Attorney General should be looking into busting this whole cabal up ASAP!

They've even got the one non-profit that should have been advocating against overdevelopment of our desert mountains in their pocket, the Desert Botanical Garden (aka Mums the Word).

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