Group intends to sue Glendale over Coyotes

TED WYMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:59 PM ET

An Arizona taxpayer watchdog group announced its intention Thursday to sue over the City of Glendale's plan to subsidize potential NHL losses in the coming season.

The Goldwater Institute says the Glendale City Council illegally granted authority to City Manager Ed Beasley to enter an agreement that would give the NHL up to $25 million to cover losses it could potentially incur if a deal to sell the team to a local buyer is not reached in the near future.

"We'll be pushing to file soon," Goldwater spokesman Le Templar told the Phoenix New Times.

The NHL has owned the Coyotes since last September and is attempting to broker a deal with either Jerry Reinsdorf or Ice Edge Holdings, which will keep the beleaguered franchise in the Phoenix area.

The lawsuit could potentially throw a wrench into the NHL's plans, since it is believed the league was going to move quickly to relocate the franchise if Glendale City Council failed to approve its demand for subsidization.

The City of Glendale approved the motion to hand authority to Beasley by a 7-0 vote on Tuesday night.

Goldwater Institute lawyer Carrie Ann Sitren said that's illegal without public dicussion or a final vote of approval from council.

“By delegating the power and responsibility of (council) to the city manager, the city has violated the law,” Sitren told the Globe and Mail. “The city gave away all its power and responsibility to the city manager to come up with a deal. That does not fly under the laws here.”

The NHL said it was seeking the resolution from Glendale City Council simply as an insurance policy so it doesn't get stuck holding the bag for another season.

Ice Edge Holdings spokesman Daryl Jones, whose group needs the council's financial security blanket in order to keep negotiating to buy the Coyotes, did not agree with the Goldwater Institute's assessment of the situation.

"Ice Edge's constitutional law team feels comfortable that the Goldwater's concerns are grossly misplaced, and (City of Glendale's) strategy is legal," he said on Twitter.

Many people believed the NHL would move quickly to sell the Coyotes to Winnipeg's True North Sports and Entertainment if conditions were not met by the City of Glendale.

The team could still conceivably move to Winnipeg in time for next season if the deal falls through but the window of opportunity for such a move is closing quickly as the MTS Centre's current tennant, the AHL's Manitoba Moose, needs a definitive answer right away.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest supporters of returning an NHL team to Winnipeg said Thursday he'd put his money where his mouth is.

CBC icon Don Cherry told the Fan 590 in Toronto he would be willing to invest in a Winnipeg team if approached by the ownership group.

"Yes, it's a winner," Cherry said. "I'd be happy to invest."

Cherry still believes Phoenix will eventually lose it's hockey team and the franchise that was once the Winnipeg Jets will return home.

"It's an endless pit out there," he said.


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