March 6, 2013
The City of Glendale is visibly stalled in their attempt to find a new arena manager that also will own the Phoenix Coyotes. While the shortened season is rapidly drawing to a close, the city government has handed over their responsibility to an outside company with no public debate nor any mention of the cost of doing so. Of course, this information has not been officially substantiated to me despite contacting the Beacon Sports Capital CFO Gerald Sheehan, the Glendale mayor’s office and the Glendale city manager’s office. None of them were willing to share information.
The hopes of the fans and the team are that “there are things going on behind the scenes” that will soon miraculously flower into a new arena lease agreement and the Coyotes staying in town long term. Could be.
I remain baffled Beacon is being hired for this process considering their conflict of interest, or certainly the very strong appearance of conflict of interest, concerning the Kaites/Reinsdorf group rumored to be in the running for the Coyotes. Read “Old Boys Network” if you wish to refesh your memory. Nevertheless, having a professional negotiator (as repeatedly suggested by CM Sherwood) is a good idea. However doing so in an obstructionist fashion is NOT a good idea. I suppose it’s too much to expect the city to find a firm less connected to the people that saddled the city with Camelback Ranch.
Since yet another workshop came and went Tuesday with no direction to finish the RFP for Beacon to execute, another week that could be used to hammer out an agreement is burned. Despite mayor Weiers proclaiming in several interviews that there were buyers on the horizon and stating he had preliminary discussions with
In the minutes of the February 5 City Council workshop (click here):
“Mayor Weiers said he has had very preliminary discussions with others and there may be offers soon. He asked the council if they wanted to consider both the pending offers and have Mr. Skeete put together the RFP at the same time.
Councilmember Alvarez said Mr. Skeete should start the process and they want to follow the charter, so Mr. Skeete should handle the negotiations. She said Mayor Weiers should give his buyer contact information to Mr. Skeete and let him handle it so the Goldwater Institute won’t get involved again.
Mayor Weiers said he hasn’t done anything to violate the charter. He said he has been adamant that this is a council decision, not his decision.
Councilmember Sherwood said it would be a great idea to run both processes (ed: the Weiers people and the RFP) simultaneously. He said the negotiations should be handled by one individual, but they need to move forward.”
So, then, where are the “pending offers”? It’s now a month later and there is still no sign of anything that Mr. Weiers has mentioned.
Where is the RFP Mr. Skeete was instructed by the City Council to “freshen up” a month ago? Other than being mentioned in a couple radio interviews by CM Sherwood, where is the public acknowlegdement that Beacon has been contracted for negotiaions? Here (RFP_Jobing_com), by the way, is the “old” RFP that Mr. Skeete was going to use as the basis for his new RFP (we assume).
Mr. Weiers has been cruising the arena with some frequency, catching NHL games (sometimes in his Coyotes sweater) on the company dime in the city suite. It’s one of the perks of the office I guess. You’d think, though, that being in the arena during games and hob nobbing with the team big wigs would make more of an impression on the mayor that there is some need for the arena and the Coyotes to get some real attention from the city. So far, that has not been the case.
There is certainly no lack of speed when it comes to dismissing long term high level employees such as former city attorney Craig Tindall. City manager Skeete and City Clerk Hanna are also under serious fire, having been the subject of a special city council executive session yesterday.
Soon, nearly every position of import in Glendale will be held by an “acting” or some other temporary employee. That’s progress.
Rumor Has It
I assume people are speaking with Beacon about the Coyotes. How serious those discussions are is anyone’s guess. Knowledgeable people (no, not me) that have been around this fiasco for a long time and have put in the work to dig into it are not convinced the “four groups” (plus maybe another two) are more than tire kickers or are still afflicted with the same issues that caused them to back out of the running in the past.
It now appears that the public appearance of the RFP “necessary” to publicly begin negotiating for the arena management contract and consequently the Coyotes could easily be delayed until the end of this month. I’ve heard it’s entirely possible to work the entire deal behind the scenes and only appear in front of the public with a “completed” deal for the city council to vote on. Until then, we wait.
So what, why is it anybody’s business?
The elephant in the room is the end of the hockey season. It’s soon. Speculation goes back and forth about whether the end of the season means the end of the team or not. I’ll leave that debate to the Twitterati since there’s no way of knowing unless the NHL decides to suddenly bring us into the loop.
It’s apparent that the NHL has decided to stick with their $170M price for the Coyotes. Despite the market value of the team being pegged significantly lower than that number and despite the fact that the inflated price would keep likely buyers waiting on the sidelines until a more reasonably priced team became available, the NHL seems to be holding the line on price.
Delaying many more DAYS has the real possibility of hurting the true value of the club even further. How?
GM Don Maloney (GMDM), Head Coach Dave Tippett and starting goalie Mike Smith could very well all be on the same bus out of town with much more delay and uncertainty.
The failure of the Hockey Partners deal to go through hit the team hard, by most accounts. Fingers were pointed, mostly in one direction, but regardless of which way one decided to finger the blame one constant is certain. The let down shattered, and yes that’s a strong word. people’s confidence that there will EVER be a successful resolution to the Coyotes in Glendale. The hilarious “two more weeks” joke is completely played and nobody is likely to buy a “deal on the horizon” any more. Including the three aforementioned gentlemen.
Say It Ain’t So
According to Craig Morgan (an excellent source for REAL info related to the Coyotes) GMDM said (click here) there would be no negotiating a new contract for Smitty until the season is over and the “ownership situation” was more clear. If you heard that and it didn’t send chills down your spine as a Coyotes fan, you’re brain dead. One could argue, in fact, that Smitty is by far the most replaceable one of the trio regardless of his skill as a goaltender.
Maloney telegraphed, with that statement, what the vibe is in the room and in the front office. To me, it means that if the phone rings and the person on the other end is pushing a new job, all three guys will listen intently. Who can blame them? The likelihood of the NHL ponying up the necessary cash for Smitty or GMDM or Tippett is slim. One would also assume that, of the remaining NHL teams, there are at least a few looking for a beast of a GM or a proven winning coach with the credentials Dave Tippett has.
If any one of the three bail, I imagine the real worth of the team will drop millions of dollars as soon as they leave.
So, tick tock Mr. Mayor. If you want to be the hero, and all appearances point to you wanting to make a big splash, time is fleeting.