2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Goldwater and Glendale Fail to Make Progress

Pete SpitlerContributor IApril 22, 2011

Thursday's meeting between the Goldwater Insitute and Glendale mayor Elaine Scruggs failed to make any progress toward keeping the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona.
Thursday's meeting between the Goldwater Insitute and Glendale mayor Elaine Scruggs failed to make any progress toward keeping the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Raise your hand if you saw this one coming.

What the Toronto Globe and Mail has called the "Cupcake Summit", between the Goldwater Institute and Glendale City Council Mayor Elaine Scruggs and Phoenix Coyotes potential owner Matthew Hulsizer, failed to make any progress in Thursday's talks.

Goldwater has posted the audio from today's meeting broken down into six audio files. The meeting, believe it or not, began with a discussion about the type and flavor of the cupcakes being served.

After that debate, which was highlighted by someone saying they gave up cupcakes for Lent, the two parties got engrossed in a back-and-forth discussion that only highlighted the entrenched positions both Goldwater and Glendale have taken in this fight.

Goldwater presented seven questions to Scruggs and listed seven possible solutions. Those seven questions were:

1.Where do the negotiations stand?

2. When can the public expect to have all the documents related to the sale? Why does the city not already produce to us the same raw data concerning attendance, parking and revenues on the Coyotes that the city's own consultants used three months ago? Is the city willing to give us immediately all records of the negotiations between the city and Matt Hulsizer?

3. Why is the city giving Mr. Hulsizer $100 million dollars to purchase arena parking rights it already owns?

4. Did the city competitively bid the management? (It has been established that Glendale would pay Hulsizer $97 million dollars to manage the Jobing.com Arena, which Goldwater said is 20 to 40 times the going market rate on a management deal.)

5. How can the taxpayers trust the data the city is relying on from its consultants?

6. Did attorney Jordan Rose (who stated in an e-mail to Goldwater that Glendale would bring a lawsuit against Goldwater and its board members for several million dollars) correctly represent what occurred?

7. Will you consider negotiating with the Tohono O'oodham Nation (which has expressed an interest in contributing private funds to help the purchase of the Coyotes) to protect taxpayers and keep the Coyotes in town, and what has the city done to seek out private investment to replace public funding for the sale?

And Goldwater's seven solutions:

1. Use private money to finance the Coyotes' transaction

2. Competitively bid the management of Jobing.com Arena or reduce the management fee to a plausible amount.

3. Secure ties to the 30-year projected revenue streams from the city to the arena lease, parking and management, or maintain 100 percent collateral guarantees of the arena lease, parking and management.

4. Adjust arena lease payments to real market conditions.

5. Lease the arena to a minor-league team that does not require a subsidy.

6. Reduce losses by finding a private buyer for the arena (which is city owned).

7. Require the NHL to be a party to the Coyotes' non-relocation agreement and to perform due diligence to ensure that NHL franchise rules do not render the agreement unreliable.

And there you have it folks, the whole dispute in black and white. Goldwater reiterated that it would go ahead with its lawsuit if the sale goes through.

Scruggs did get a little snippy at times with Goldwater president and CEO Darcy Olsen, telling her at one point "I'm trying to write as fast as you talk."

Perhaps the most interesting part of the meeting came at the end, when Scruggs was told that Goldwater would withdraw its opposition to the sale if the city put together a deal that conforms to the Arizona Constitution.

The Glendale mayor said "We probably have about three or four days to do that."

Somebody in the background asked "Is that your timeline right now?" To which Scruggs replied, "I'm just guessing, nothing has been given to us formally, but in reality most of what you have suggested would take sort of going back and starting over.

"Do you really think we have that kind of time with the movement?"

Scruggs then started backtracking and mentioned NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's previous comment on there not being an infinite amount of time to make a deal.

Did Scruggs make a Freudian slip? Or will the relocation decision come as soon as Monday? You decide.


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