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Mayor bristles at Goldwater Institute's stance

November 8, 2014

The Goldwater Institute this week criticized Phoenix for what it called cavalier use of taxpayer resources to defend itself against a lawsuit that challenges the city’s controversial $97.4 million subsidy to the CityNorth luxury development in northeast Phoenix.

Phoenix has paid more than $100,000 to the Fennemore Craig law firm to defend itself in a legal challenge filed by the Goldwater Institute.

The institute, a Phoenix-based think tank with a libertarian bent, filed Turken v. Gordon in August. Goldwater says the incentive to CityNorth violates the Arizona Constitution. Phoenix officials say the incentives are in line with others it has offered in the past.

The institute criticized the city’s hiring of Fennemore Craig.

Given that city lawyers negotiated the subsidy, presumably they would have expertise to defend it, said Darcy Olsen, the institutes president and CEO.

We asked Mayor Phil Gordon about the institutes press release.

They lie, he said.

For starters, he said, only a handful of Phoenix’s in-house staff has the expertise to work on the lawsuit. And the lawyers who negotiate contracts aren’t also responsible for litigation.

Mostly, though, he said he was peeved that Goldwater was mocking Phoenix for defending itself against a lawsuit that Goldwater itself filed.

Does anyone find any irony (there)? he asked.



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