Phoenix--The City of Phoenix has paid more than $100,000 to attorneys from the law firm of Fennemore Craig to defend the City in a legal challenge filed by the Goldwater Institute. This taxpayer-funded legal counsel is above and beyond the City of Phoenix's Law Department of 250 full-time attorneys and support staff.
Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute, criticized Phoenix's cavalier use of taxpayer resources, saying "Even Marie Antoinette would find this spending excessive."
The Goldwater Institute filed its lawsuit, Turken v. Gordon, in August, challenging the City's $100 million subsidy to the developers of the upscale shopping mall called CityNorth. Between August 14 and October 31, the City spent more than $100,000 in legal fees, which include the billable hours of some of the law firm's highest paid lawyers. In cases like this, cities often rely on in-house counsel. "Given that city lawyers negotiated the subsidy, presumably they would have expertise to defend it," said Olsen.
The Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation filed its opening brief with Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Miles yesterday. The brief explains how the CityNorth deal violates three separate sections of the Arizona Constitution. Also yesterday, the National Federation of Independent Businesses concurred in an amicus brief. Oral arguments are scheduled in the case for February 4, 2008.Oral arguments are scheduled in the case for February 4, 2008.
The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.