The Goldwater Institute filed an objection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court saying Glendale officials may have offered unconstitutional taxpayer subsidies to a possible new owner of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Last week, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Edward Burke ruled that most of the documents requested in a lawsuit filed by Goldwater will remain sealed under a state law that allows nondisclosure in cases of legal negotiations.
The institute was seeking information from the city regarding what kind of deal it might be trying to cut the with the National Hockey League franchise to keep the team playing at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in May with three bidders as of last count: Research in Motion CEO Jim Balsillie’s all-cash $213 million proposal would move the team to Hamilton, Ontario. Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf offered $148 million with a promise to keep the team in Glendale. Toronto-based Ice Edge Holdings bid $150 million and says it would keep the hockey team here, but would play some non-NHL games in Canada.
The latest objection was filed on behalf of eight Glendale taxpayers and asks the bankruptcy court judge to consider the unconstitutionality of any arrangement that provides taxpayer-funded concessions in accepting a bid.
“Goldwater Institute attorneys have been unable to verify that any unconstitutional offers have been made by Glendale officials, since public records requested more than four weeks ago from Glendale still have not been provided,” a news release from the institute reads. “This is in spite of two court rulings instructing Glendale to turn over records related to negotiations between the city and prospective buyers of the team, with limited exceptions.”