Goldwater has good case for injunction

TED WYMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:52 PM ET

A Phoenix lawyer says the Goldwater Institute has a good case to get an injunction to block the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes if the deal goes through.

“I’m not so sure that they don’t have a high likelihood of success if they were to try to pursue an injunction,” Blake Whiteman of Ridenour, Hienton and Lewis said on the Breakthrough Sports Show on a Phoenix radio station Friday.

The City of Glendale, Ariz., is trying to broker a sale between Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer and the NHL, which owns the team.

Glendale has agreed to pay Hulsizer $100 million up front for parking rights at Jobing.com Arena and is currently trying to sell bonds to raise the money.

If the bond sale fails or the deal with Hulsizer fails to go through for any other reason, the Coyotes will likely be forced to relocate and Winnipeg is considered the front-runner to land the franchise.

The Goldwater Institute opposes the bond sale and the proposed financial “gift” to Hulsizer and has promised to sue if the deal goes through. Whiteman said Goldwater may have the option of an injunction over a prolonged lawsuit because the amount of money the city has already invested in the Coyotes is disproportionate to the amount the city can possibly recoup from having the team continue to play at Jobing.com Arena.

The city invested $180 million in building the arena and has now promised Hulsizer $100 million for parking rights as well as $97 million over five years for managing the facility.

“I think the fact that there’s so much rumbling and negative press for the Goldwater Institute is really an indicator of how worried the current purchaser and the City of Glendale are.”

NHL commissioner Bill Daly also appeared on the Breakthrough Sports Show and admitted the bond sale remains stalled due to Goldwater’s pending lawsuit.

“They seem to want to chill the market and they’ve done that fairly effectively, actually,” Daly said. “We have to deal with that and we are trying to find bond buyers who are interested regardless of whatever litigation risk there might be from Goldwater.”

Daly did not seem deterred by the recent promise of a lawsuit or the possibility of an injunction.

In Glendale long-term

“We are proceeding on the assumption that if the bonds are sold and the transaction is closed, we will be in Glendale for the long term regardless of what kind of litigation comes our way,” he said.

Daly, who like NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is considered a hero by Coyotes fans for all the league has done to keep the team in a suspect market, also had a message for sports fans in “other markets” who are clamouring for the return of their team.

“I respect all fans in their passion for a team and wanting to have a team, but I also think it’s important for fans to respect the rights of other fans,” Daly said, not referring to Winnipeg in particular. “Other fans who might have an interest in this franchise should sit on the sidelines and see how it plays out, and probably in some respects, pull for fans in this city because at some point in time, they may be in the same situation.”

Daly’s words will likely ring hollow with most Winnipeg Jets fans, who saw their beloved Jets leave for Phoenix in 1996. His next words will likely add to the bitterness many fans still feel over the team’s departure.

“Ripping franchises out of markets is not how we normally try to do our business,” Daly said.

Is that so? Could have fooled us.


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