For a bullet summary, please go here.
The residents of Glendale in a recent poll suggested that 72% would prefer to not have subsidies granted to a new owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, in order to keep the team in Glendale.
The Goldwater Institute has sued Glendale over keeping records private regarding the negotiations with Jerry Reinsdorf, the NHL’s new Coyotes’ favorite. A good summary of the situation complete with alternate links exists here.
In a nutshell, the Goldwater Group has a valid argument. The taxpayers of Glendale deserve full and transparent disclosure on the negotiations with Jerry Reinsdorf. Mr. Reinsdorf is no doubt looking into revenue streams that exist beyond the Jobing.com arena, and this affects the taxpaying public.
Further, the ‘cozy relationship’ that the Reinsdorf family enjoys with the City of Glendale is not one that has had a lot of public disclosure, and when rumours started to fly, an article was filed by a Glendale City Hall reporter to downplay the relationships as a ‘so what, it’s small money anyhow’ fluff off.
Could it be considered an insult to the public, that suddenly a reporter is privy to a few tidbits of actual cash figures of Michael Reinsdorf’s IFG dealings with Glendale, when the Goldwater Institute is forced to sue the City for lack of disclosure? Sounds a little closed lipped and fishy doesn’t it? I guess the City of Glendale will tell us just enough to get the dogs off the trail and see if that works. My, my, my!
In a previous lawsuit filed against Jerry and Michael Reinsdorf by David Schwartz, West Coast Arena Ventures, the contentious point that was important to the case was outlined:
“Since professional sports is usually a Monopolized and Antitrust protected business, the issue as to whether Mr. Reinsdorf and his companies, ‘play’ fair on a level playing field, or use their family, contacts, and name, to unfairly compete and to dominate Sports Development, is certainly of interest to Sports Fans around the world,” said West Coast Arena Ventures, CEO, David Schwartz.
It should be argued that it should also be very significant to the taxpayers that may foot any costs or subsidies enjoyed by a private sector corporation, which brings us back to the significant role the Goldwater Institute plays in this case.
As reported before in this article, there is strong relationships between the Reinsdorf father and son (Michael) in Glendale to warrant full disclosure of all considerations being made to this family. Also, notes to further to investigate issues related to International Facilities Group (IFG) can be found here.
The fact that the City of Glendale refuses to give detail because they say it is not in the best interest of the taxpayer is being presumptuous at the very least, and puts the city in a position of suspicion for ‘needing’ secrecy.
What is wrong with filling in the public on considerations for the public’s tax dollars?
Transparency in today’s world is becoming increasingly important. The court case argument from Jerry Moyes’ attorney stress this, and the Goldwater Institute is stressing it too.
The real fear in a case like this is the potential for collusion and corruption of government. When you have a private corporations (in this case two corporations) that are related to each other, working negotiations with a municipality, one would think that “a public hearing” at the very least would be in order to answer questions and field taxpayer concerns. But, according to the City of Glendale, their attitude is one of ‘knowing what is good for you (as taxpayers), so let us handle it’. Hardly a democratic process.
And, the real problem with the timing of the bankruptcy proceedings and the attitude of the City of Glendale is that once the deal is made (if it is), it will be made in secrecy, and it will be too late for the taxpayers to have a voice. Kind of like the ‘mushroom theory’ (keep us in the dark, and feed us a steady diet of….(you know the rest).
I would hope the Goldwater Institute prevails in their quest to put a suspension to this, in light of the potential for private corporation profitting off the backsides of taxpayers.
If it all works out to be supported by the members of the City in majority, then fine. But, if as reported, it has been suggested that 72% of residents would sooner the team leave than compensate private corporations, then that is a more serious violation of human rights.