As we wind down 2012, the arena management agreement between the City of Glendale and Hockey Partners is approved, signed and delivered. That’s another giant step toward the Coyotes bright future in Glendale completed successfully.
The R-12-02 referendum halfhearted and error laden attempt by Ken Jones and Francine Romesburg followed the similarly error filled R-12-01 attempt into failure, this time they didn’t even bother turning in any petition sheets. Instead, Ken and/or Peggy Jones sent an email to lame duck mayor Scruggs with “cc’s” to some current and future City councilmembers and staff. Because, perhaps, Ken/Peggy are so used to making errors, they used the wrong email address for CM Joyce Clark.
As more real and perceived barriers to commerce drop out of the way of the Coyotes remaining in Glendale, certain quarters of the population are becoming more desperate where they grasp their straws of hope that the Coyotes will fail. At this point, they’re down to a few “arguments”. First is “Jamison doesn’t have the money”, based primarily on the fact Mr. Jamison refuses to name the people involved in his consortium to suit the curiosity of uninvolved people. This argument is apparently supported by Scruggs, who forwarded a negative article written by perennial Coyotes troll David Shoalts for a Canadian paper to the current council, elects and Horatio Skeete. Ms. Scruggs has recently very often used words posted in local and Canadian newspapers and sites to further her arguments. Teamwork doesn’t have an “i” or a “Scruggs”.
The more popular argument, however, is that Goldwater Institute (GWI) will sue Glendale citing a violation of the Arizona Constitution “gift clause”, the same feature they threatened to sue them for during the Hulsizer days. I discussed that a bit a couple days ago (click here), but let’s run through it a bit more for people looking for more information.
Litigation Threat Repeated
Click here for a copy of the email from Ken. In it, Ken repeats his frequent threat that GWI will soon be dragging Glendale back into court over the Coyotes. Oddly, considering the distribution list for his email consists of ONLY current and future City of Glendale councilmembers and staff, he also thanks them.
… Someone like the Goldwater Institute will have a very strong case if they challenge the lopsided lease with our city in court.
Mostly, thank all of you for your efforts that collected so many signatures.
If we examine Peggy/Ken’s statement, a couple features spring to mind. First, GWI has already unsuccessfully represented Ken (and Joe Cobb) in court challenging the Glendale agreement with Hockey Partners. So, Ken does have contacts with GWI. But, are those contacts feeding Ken information or encouraging him to levy threats against the City? My guess is no, they are not. Secondly, how much credence should be given to a legal opinion from a guy that has TWICE made the exact same errors not following simple directions and has already failed in court? I suggest the answer to that question is “none”.
Running On Empty
The usual trolls of social media are abuzz with similar threats and hopes that Goldwater Insitute (GWI) will “get involved” one more time and shoo the Coyotes out of Glendale once and for all. The Canadian contingent from Winnipeg doesn’t care where they go as long as it’s NOT Glendale while their Quebecois brethren want the Coyotes to fill the $400M hole in the ground that may become the arena their government is building for Quebecor. We hear it may be named either “Pig In A Poke Arena” or “Delusional Colisee”. I said it, if it is repeated once it becomes “fact”, right?
Here’s a post talking about GWI on a hockey “board” from a (probably) Canadian citizen “moderator” online that’s part of what the anti-Coyotes Canadian Twitterati are excited about today:
All I can really say is that their (sic) quite deliberately laying low, burnishing their knives on a whetstone by the light of the Moon when everyones (sic) asleep or otherwise awake, blithe to the pending storm. It would serve no purpose at this time to telegraph their intentions, as accusations of interference, more rotten peaches from the GWI would harm rather than help their “cause” at this particular moment in time. Better they should just wait for the mouse to take the cheese… if even capable.
Wow, huh? Sounds like he found a scroll in World of Warcraft or something. Is that why the “moderator” has “credibility” from his breathless followers? He states he has real “inside” sources in Arizona. While I have no reason other than simple logic to doubt that some guy in Canada has better sources than I and local reporters and everybody else interested in the Coyotes that live locally. Click here if you would like to read a 12 page (as of right now) thread about their “analysis” of the current state of affairs in Glendale. It’s an eye opener of how the rampant speculations of uninformed people grow and spread like frost on a Winnipeg windshield. Page one of the rantings has a list of their links from WAAAAY back, indicative of how long they’ve held this negative obsession for the Coyotes.
If It Looks Like A Duck…
One must wonder when the patience of the Arizona jurisprudence system for the Goldwater Institute harping on the Coyotes will wear out. Certainly, GWI’s tacticians are considering how much further they can push their pursuit of the Coyotes through the court system. We might wonder if Hockey Partners, in anticipation of GWI litigation, is prepared to push back with legal actions of their own.A GWI founding (I believe) benefactors is the previous owner of the Coyotes that ran the team into bankruptcy, Jerry Moyes. The NHL sued Moyes in 2010, seeking more than $70M in damages, alleging Moyes secretly negotiated the proposed sale of the Coyotes to ex-Blackberry tycoon Balsillie and then lied about it. Moyes denies any wrongdoing and a trial date has not been set. So, if Jerry is at war with the NHL already, why wouldn’t he enlist the aid of GWI as an ally?
I believe Jerry feels he is owed about $20M by the NHL. He may be basing some legal strategy on the assumption the Coyotes will leave, triggering some legal gambit once they do. Perhaps he feels that, if the Coyotes move AND a big relocation fee is involved, he and Gretzky stand a better chance at getting a check. I really don’t know, some reporter should give Jerry a call and chat about it.
Jerry stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer of Swift in October 2005, having paid $1.5M to settle an SEC case accusing him of insider trading without admitting or denying wrongdoing. Another one of Jerry’s businesses, Swift Air, ALSO filed for bankruptcy in June, the motives of GWI in support of their benefactor should be suspect to even the casual observer.
Four Swift air executives received large bonuses just prior to the Swift bankruptcy filing. Saipan Air is involved in litigation because of the bankruptcy, although Swift is not being sued as a company because of bankruptcy protection. However, company executives Donald A. Stukes, Jeffrey Conry, Hank Tobert, Boris Van Lier and others are being sued for $50M. Click here to read a story. It’s more than I want to cover here, I just thought the bankruptcy technique was germane to the argument that these continued actions against the Coyotes that appear vindictive may not be “over the top” as expected behavior for the parties involved considering the allegations of RICO violations and fraud. For example, the following excerpt from the above article:
The amended $50-million racketeering lawsuit still named the four executives as defendants along with 10 unnamed co-defendants for allegedly conspiring to obtain money and other property from Saipan Air Inc.
Further, another article about the case (click here) goes on to state:
The Saipan Air counsel said their background investigation showed that the individuals being sued had been involved with multiple airlines for the last two years including Direct Air and Sky King.
He said these persons followed the same pattern of acquiring ownership interest of airlines and then basically used the money from the airlines then end up filing for bankruptcy.
We are often judged by the company we keep and the people we hire.
Suit Filed Anyway, Now What?
GWI is still in court with Glendale on a Coyotes related matter. They represented Ken Jones and Joe Cobb in yet another Coyotes related matter in June. GWI blasted what appears to be an intentionally damaging letter to financial underwriters. How many more attacks made at the same point have to be made before GWI attempts are characterized as tortious interference and are litigated? Maybe one. To coin a phrase, they have more baggage than cupcakes.
GWI donors may or may not be supportive of their money being spent opposing a hockey team in Arizona. Most of them, based on the stated objective of GWI, probably made their donations thinking GWI would be supporting strict adherence to the US Constitution, not that of Arizona.
The City of Glendale has published a legal opinion on the validity of a “gift clause” suit in this case. Click here to read it. That opinion was, by the way, based on a deal that was significantly LESS beneficial to the City than the current agreement. The conclusion of a respected law firm is that there is no basis for a “gift clause” suit. Perhaps they will rethink their opinion when they hear an Internet hockey bulletin board “moderator” and Ken Jones BOTH disagree.
In conclusion, I am of the opinion that consideration has been given to the GWI threat and a strategy is in place to contend with that, or another, legal eventuality. Hockey Partners is not without legal resources nor is the NHL. Ask Jerry Moyes if the NHL has the legal capabilities to deal with problems, he should know. Hopefully, Jerry and GWI realize that it’s time to let this one go so they can move on to other things. Hopefully, the overly interested yet undereducated anti-Coyotes contingent on the Interwebs will follow suit.
It’s a New Year coming, a great time for a fresh start and an optimistic outlook.