Ball in Hulsizer's court
Time to cough up cash or walk
TED WYMAN, QMI Agency
|Potential Phoenix Coyotes owner Matthew Hulsizer has agreed to a major concession, which he hopes will allow him to complete his purchase of the team and keep the franchise in Arizona. (CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/Getty Images)
I can certainly understand the frustration fans of the Phoenix Coyotes are feeling as efforts to save their team get blocked at every turn.
Same goes for potential owner Matthew Hulsizer, the City of Glendale and the NHL, all of whom are under the delusion that Phoenix is a hockey town.
It must be difficult to watch helplessly as a conservative taxpayer watchdog derails all of their best laid plans.
They keep lining up the cans and the Goldwater Institute keeps shooting them down.
Yet, somehow supporters of Hulsizer’s deal — to buy the Coyotes from the NHL for $170 million after he gets $100 million and the promise of another $97 million over five years from the City of Glendale — are missing the point.
Goldwater says the deal is illegal. Period.
That’s why they have promised to sue if the deal goes through.
Hulsizer came forward on Sunday and offered a financial concession which he hoped would get Goldwater to back off. But it didn’t make the deal any more legal.
Former Republican presidential candidate John McCain tried to sweet talk Goldwater into backing down for the good of the community. Many people thought McCain would talk some sense into the conservative think tank. But his words didn’t make the deal any more legal.
The Arizona Republic ripped into Goldwater in Tuesday’s edition, telling the institute to come down from its Mount Olympus and stop standing in the way of a good move for the region. Forgive us for being repetitive, but that public scolding didn’t make the deal any more legal.
It seems the only way Goldwater is going to step aside is if the deal is legal and the only way that’s going to happen is if Hulsizer uses his own money to buy the Coyotes.
So either step up now or walk away, Mr. Hulsizer.
The fans of the Coyotes, the NHL and potential purchasers of the Coyotes who would move the team to Winnipeg need to get this resolved one way or the other in a hurry and it’s Hulsizer, not Goldwater, who holds all the cards.
If Hulsizer truly believes he can guarantee the $100 million will be repaid to the City of Glendale — as he said in the embarrassingly unprofessional letter, full of spelling and grammatical errors, sent to Goldwater last Friday — why couldn’t he guarantee to make that money back for himself?
If Hulsizer puts up the $100 million now, Goldwater goes away, and according to his own projections, he makes that money back through parking revenues.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely he actually wants to take that risk. It’s OK for the city to sell municipal bonds and take the risk, but not for Mr. Moneybags from Chicago. That would simply be bad business.
Good business would be the NHL selling the Coyotes to True North Sports and Entertainment — who are willing to spend their own money — and allowing them to move back to Winnipeg, where the franchise began.
Hulsizer himself has admitted his deal is not going to get done unless Goldwater backs down, although NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly remains steadfast in his resolve to save the tumultous transaction.
“We have never anticipated that Goldwater would change its position,” he said. “Our objective has been to try to find a solution with or without Goldwater’s endorsement.”
The solution is pretty easy to see.
Get Hulsizer to cough up his own cash, or let someone else do it.
Even if they are in Winnipeg.