July 4, 2012
Back again today with another chapter in the so far neverending saga of conservative “think tank” Goldwater Institute doing their level best to reduce to ashes a successful sale of the Phoenix Coyotes, a team run into bankruptcy by former Goldwater board member Jerry Moyes. Mr. Moyes was completely unable to run either a once successful professional hockey franchise or Swift Aviation which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Yesterday (July 3, 2012), Goldwater Institute emailed yet one more letter to Craig Tindall (the City Attorney for Glendale) outlining their position on the deadline for turning in petitions for the referendum on the already passed arena lease deal with Arizona Hockey Partners, LLC being circulated by Ken Jones and Joe Cobb. I apologize for the preceding runon sentence.
This letter represents the latest salvo from the 501(c)(3) Goldwater Institute in their efforts to quash every deal that would have led to the Coyotes NHL hockey club remaining in Glendale. This process has been going on so long that nearly every Coyotes fan knows the Goldwater name as well as Shane Doan’s. Something is wrong with this picture.
This saga is down to the end game now, we all know it so the pressure is mounting daily. On one side is Moyes and Goldwater. Besides myself (on an amateur basis), there is the National Hockey League (NHL), the Greg Jamison group (Hockey Partners LLC), the City of Glendale, most Coyotes fans, a new political action committee (Glendale First!) and last but certainly not least, the taxpaying citizens of Glendale. I’ve purposely left Ken Jones and Joe Cobb off the opposing side because, when this particular chapter of the story is examined, they have been utilized as an end to the Goldwater desired means which is, ultimately, the demise of the Coyotes as an Arizona team. Or, that’s the way it appears when analyzing all their moves.
Same Stuff, Different Day
If it isn’t clear, what I mean to say is that Goldwater has enlisted two men who I actually admire because they have the courage of their convictions and are dedicated citizens that participate in local government. Once Joe and Ken were convinced that Goldwater was on their side, they agreed to have the GWI branch organization represent them in a failed court action against the City of Glendale and then hung them out to dry with no real support beyond representing them in a case they lost. In order to delay the Coyotes sale further, my suspicion based on the past three years of experience in this case with this organization is that the Institute’s plans are BETTER served by having Ken and Joe make rookie mistakes that the Institute could have legally advised them to avoid because there was a chance they would add more length to the uncertain outcome of this fiasco. It smells. All of this is purely conjecture, but the evidence just in this Coyotes case is building to overwhelming levels that it is exactly the strategy Goldwater is employing.
The Goldwater letter (click here to read) is one paragraph with the last sentence being a threat to a city government. In other words, same old, same old. The essence of the letter, beyond adding a little lawyerly dismissive snark by cleverly surrounding the word approved with double quotation marks, is that, while the Council approved the lease on June 8, a copy of that measure was not available until one week later on June 15. This is important because the petition for referendum being circulated by Mr. Jones and Mr. Cobb must be turned in 30 days after a measure is passed. Goldwaters contention, exactly as predicted weeks ago (in slightly different form, I admit) is that the “clock” (note the non-snotty double quotation marks, just to prove it’s possible) doesn’t start until the 15th instead of the day the measure was actually passed, the 8th. This would give Ken and Joe an extra week. There are a few problems, however, that I see with Goldwater’s letter and their assumptions.
First, Goldwater doesn’t officially represent Ken Jones and Joe Cobb. We all know that they really do, at least on a wink-wink, nudge-nudge basis, but nowhere in their threat do they mention their standing as representatives of anybody or their standing to make the complaint. Again, I’m no lawyer, but I noticed it right away. What Carrie Ann should have done was have her assistant reach into the other drawer for the “Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation” stationery because that firm is the legal beagle arm, and probably profit center (a story for another time, perhaps) that is actually currently representing Joe and Ken. I suppose it’s a minor error on their part, maybe not even anything other than sloppy, I don’t know since I’m just a computer guy.
Secondly, however, their contention that a copy of the measure wasn’t available for Ken or Joe to pick up at City Hall is patently false. We’ve already covered this with our “Goldwater Reinvents Calendar” story, so check that our for more information. Anybody could have gotten a copy of that measure any time they wished, a hard copy might not have been available without a special request until Monday, June 11 because of the lateness of the Friday meeting ending, but I’m sure, with the impending threat from Goldwater in the air like the smell of an infected rotting moose, a special request for an immediate copy would have been granted. Yet, neither Ms. Sitren nor Ken Jones, both of whom attended AND spoke at that meeting, felt it was important enough to stay around until the end of the meeting to ask for it. NEITHER of them. So, was it really that important to either of them, or was there already a plan afoot to delay the sale process yet one more time?
At the risk of offering fodder to trolls, I’ve attached a copy of the three page document Joe Cobb picked up at Glendale City Hall on his very first visit there attempting to do so on June 15. (click here) At the risk of once again predicting the arguments of Carrie Ann Sitren to justify some unwinnable argument, I imagine that her argument will be that, while the ACTUAL ORDINANCE DOCUMENT was available at least since June 11, the “seal” page (page 1) wasn’t attached to the two page document (dated June 8) until June 15. That is her only hope since there’s plenty of proof her client never attempted to pick up any papers at City Hall. So, then, she will have to convince the judge that her first page argument applies to A.R.S. S10-142(C), which outlines the procedure for filing a referendum petition. My assumption is that argument will not be accepted by the court.
Craig Tindall, while not required by law to respond to letters sent to him by a person with no standing, responded the same day (July 3) to Ms. Sitren. His response was a bit longer (click here), but dismissive of her claim because Mr. Cobb was provided with his petition number (R-12-01) and the other documents required on June 20.
I have wondered why, if Mr. Cobb now feels the need to litigate an extra week for him to gather signatures, did he wait from June 15 to June 20 to complete and turn in his paperwork? Believe me, this paperwork is ridiculously simple to fill out with VERY few entries. The instructions for completing the paperwork are a bit more confusing, but still very simple. Since Mr. Cobb is an economist with an MBA, I’m fairly certain the paperwork was no challenge for him. So, why would he waste 4-5 (depending how you count them) days before filing his papers to begin gathering signatures? Was he asked to delay? Was he simply very confident getting the necessary signatures would be easy?
My hope is that Judge Fink (assuming he is “the guy” again) rolls his eyes and sees this the same way I do, just another litigious and expensive attempt by Goldwater to delay the sale of the Coyotes to an immensely qualified candidate. Further, I hope that maybe THIS time Ms. Sitren and crew will somehow be censured for bringing obviously targeted actions into Superior Court, using the Court as a tool of annoyance and pressure. Of course, the possibility exists that they won’t actually su…. Oh wait, never mind, bad joke.
Keep the faith, my Coyotes brothers and sisters, your recent efforts are appreciated, effective and inspiring. We have a fan base for this “hockey the hard way” team that NO OTHER TEAM has. We have the best Captain in the league, a surprising number of us are proud to point at him and admit we admire him for more than his hockey skills. Remember that this most recent attack has a very real possibility of costing us Shane Doan, none of us would blame him for FINALLY just having enough of the repeated delays getting ownership resolved. This is the Goldwater tactic, this is what it will cost us if they win. Simple.
Assuming we keep it high road in the face of baiting and intimidation (which may get worse as July 9 approaches), we will be able to talk HOCKEY instead of laws, deadlines and politics.