Coyotes On The Run

Last night Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers and four other members of the Glendale City Council voided a two-year old contract with the Arizona Coyotes IceArizona organization to occupy and manage Glendale’s Gila River Arena. From Wikipedia:

Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Ian Hugh and council members Jamie Aldama, Lauren Tolmachoff, and Bart Turner cited conflict of interest laws asserted to apply to Craig Tindall, former Glendale city attorney. Tindall was hired by IceArizona about seven weeks after the city originally approved the IceArizona contract. Councilmen Samuel Chavira and Sherwood opposed voiding the contract. IceArizona has threatened legal action against the city.[11][12]

Tindall resigned his city post in 2013 upon request of the mayor and council. Tindall was subsequently the subject of an ethics complaint regarding his purported conflict of interest between his work for IceArizona and his Glendale post. He was still receiving city severance pay at the time IceArizona hired him. The complaint was filed by former city councilmember Phil Lieberman.[13]

When Tindall resigned from the City of Glendale, a press release announced that he joined the well-known[14] Phoenix law firm Fennemore Craig. However, that firm’s website has no mention of Tindall.

page13leblancanthony 750I’ve seen a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth from rabid Coyote fans about this action. However, not one has addressed the ethics issue. Ironically, the Arizona Republic quotes:

Coyotes President Anthony LeBlanc called the city’s action political grandstanding and said it is “not ethical in the court of public opinion.”

There’s nothing quite like getting a lecture on ethics from a rich guy who doesn’t have any!

The Republic closed today’s coverage of this story with,

Glendale still has not released its audit of the Coyotes’ 2013-14 season a year after it notified the team that it would exercise its option to evaluate the team’s financial results. The team blamed a delay in providing information to the city on the ownership change at the end of 2014, when Andrew Barroway became the majority owner.

City losses for hockey and concerts at Gila River Arena through April were more than $6.3 million, up nearly 14 percent from a year earlier. The city lost $8.1 million on its investment in the team for the 2013-14 fiscal year and expects that to grow.

UPDATE: The ethics complaint against Tindall was dismissed in July 2014 with this comment from AZ State Bar counsel Hunter Perlmeter:

“After our investigation of this matter we have decided to dismiss the allegations because this is not clear and convincing evidence of an ethical violation.”

However, the Arizona Republic says that on September 20th 2013 Tindall interacted with the City of Glendale on behalf of IceArizona while still on both payrolls.

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3 Comments

  1. Sir,

    Please explain what ethics Mr leBlanc violated?

    Why did you mention the ethics probe, but failed to report the results? That he was cleared? Could we say that lack of full disclosure might be unethical?

    As I explained on FB. The numbers you cited were what is out there, since then the real numbers, not the estimated ones will shoe the return to the COG will be at least $7.5M. The direction is going the opposite way the story and you claimed it was going.

    I believe the last comment you cited from the AZC may also incorrect. Glendale hired someone to review and is in the process. Not sure about that, but thought I read that

    1. I wouldn’t say Tindall was “cleared,” and that’s not what the AZ Bar said. What they DID say was, as I updated above, was that “…this [Lieberman’s complaint] is not clear and convincing evidence of an ethical violation.” That does NOT mean that Tindall didn’t commit an ethical violation; only that the complaint didn’t adequately demonstrate it (if there was one).

      As far as “real” numbers, “estimated” numbers, and whatever trends you can draw (if any), the bottom line is a substantial financial loss to the Glendale taxpayers.

  2. Mr. Washington – thanks for your comments on this. Already, we have heard talk from the sports-obsessed that Phoenix or even Scottsdale should be the next home of the Coyotes, no doubt in another taxpayer-subsidized venue. Scottsdale dodged that bullet once, mostly due to luck and the fact that they were dealing with Steve Ellman. Why any city would want to go through what Glendale has faced is beyond me – the sheer idiocy of subsidizing professional sports as “economic development” boggles the mind.

    My advice is to listen and watch very carefully – politicians seem to love sports arenas as their “legacy” even when it can be demonstrated over and over that the only winners are the team owners and players. We will soon be hearing the reasons that Scottsdale should pitch in for a new arena for somebody (Coyotes? Suns?) because after all, they’re big money-makers. As indeed they are, just not for those who pay for them.

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