At a special meeting on Wednesday, the Glendale City Council will weigh the possibility of terminating the ending the Arizona city's lease agreement with the Arizona Coyotes for use of Gila River Arena. The arena -- which sits 12 miles outside Phoenix -- opened in 2003, was built at a cost of $220 million, and is owned by the city.
The city's ability to back out of the 2013 lease agreement worth $225 million over 15 years seems to hinge on a state statute that allows government entities to end a contract within three years of being signed if a person involved in negotiating the contract for the city is, in effect, an employee or agent of the other party to the contract.
An official statement from the City of Glendale highlights the issue and possible vote, “The City Council has scheduled a discussion and possible vote regarding Glendale’s contract with the Arizona Coyotes. Discussions and negotiations regarding the contract have been ongoing for months. Specifically, the City is open to a resolution but it must be one that provides certainty and fairness to both parties, especially the taxpayers. The Council has agreed to stand for transparency and the highest standards of ethics for any future agreement with the Coyotes.”
If the measure passes, the NHL may need to quickly act to relocate the reeling franchise that has seen four ownership changes since moving from Winnipeg in 1996.
“This is a blatant attempt to renege on a valid contract that was negotiated fairly and in good faith and in compliance with all laws and procedures," said Nick Wood, outside counsel for the Arizona Coyotes. "In the event the City Council initiates any action to revoke, repeal or otherwise rescind the agreement, the Coyotes will immediately take all actions available to them under the law against the City of Glendale.”
Coyotes Co-owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc added, “This action by the City of Glendale is completely ludicrous, especially in light of the fact that myself and Andrew Barroway visited with the City yesterday and the particulars of this were never raised. In fact, we to this moment have not been advised of this other than the notification on the City website. The City of Glendale is displaying a complete lack of good faith, business acumen or an understanding of a business partnership. We want to reassure our great fans that the Arizona Coyotes are committed to Glendale and playing at Gila River Arena.”
NHL notes disappointment with Glendale
"We have been advised by the Coyotes that the City of Glendale's contentions are without merit and we fully expect the Coyotes to continue to play at the Gila River Arena and for the City to continue to honor its obligations to the Coyotes. After everything that has transpired, it is extremely disappointing that the City of Glendale would do anything that might damage the Club."
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