Goldwater Institute Will Sue Over Glendale/NHL Coyotes Deal

So much for that "deal."

Just days after Glendale and the NHL agreed to a $25 million deal to keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Arena for one more year, the Goldwater Institute tells New Times it will file a lawsuit to invalidate the agreement.

Le Templar, a spokesman for the Phoenix-based libertarian think tank, said the suit will allege that the Glendale City Council illegally granted its authority to City Manager Ed Beasley, allowing him to ink a deal without council approval.

The agreement would give the NHL up to $25 million in taxpayer money to subsidize operating losses.

The NHL became the owner of the franchise last year after the team, under owner Jerry Moyes, filed for bankruptcy -- and the hockey league refused to sign off on a new owner, Jim Balsillie, who wanted to move the team to Canada.

The city has been negotiating with two groups hoping to purchase the team, Ice Edge Holdings and a team led by Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. But so far neither has been able to reach a deal, which may leave the NHL holding the bag for at least one more season.

The Goldwater Institute previously sued Glendale in 2009, alleging violations of the state's public records law. Under the suit, Glendale is supposed to turn over public records to Goldwater soon after their creation.

But Templar said that Goldwater hasn't received a single piece of documentation since September -- which seems absurd considering how actively the city has been negotiating with the NHL, Ice Edge, and Reinsdorf.

After months of silence, Glendale recently turned over a few documents to the judge handling the case, Templar says. But the city is still fighting to keep them under seal and blocked from public view.

Templar said it's still unclear whether Goldwater will bring the new action against the city as part of the 2009 lawsuit, or whether it will file an entirely new suit.

Regardless, he said, litigation over Tuesday's deal with the NHL is certain.

"We'll be pushing to file soon," he promised. Glendale, consider yourself warned.

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Sarah Fenske
Contact: Sarah Fenske