Glendale may sell City Hall to pay off Coyotes subsidies

With all the focus on just how much of a bath the city of Glendale would take if it were to hand over $15 million a year to the Phoenix Coyotes as part of a new lease — and yes, it’s worth pointing out for anyone just tuning in, this is the rare kind of lease where your landlord pays you to rent space — there’s been less attention to where exactly tiny Glendale is getting the money for all this. Fortunately, today’s Globe and Mail has some answers:

Buried on the agenda of Tuesday’s council meeting is an emergency measure to secure a lease-purchase agreement for a maximum of $30-million on Glendale’s City Hall Complex.

It is essentially the same as mortgaging the family home to pay your debts, which in this case is the $50-million the previous Glendale council agreed to pay the NHL in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, to cover part of the Coyotes’ losses and operate Arena.

Glendale, it turns out, has already depleted its landfill fund ($21 million), sanitation fund ($4 million), and water and sewer fund ($15 million) to pay off past Coyotes subsidies. So to replenish those and raise even more money, the city is now looking at selling City Hall and leasing it back, which will earn it absolutely nothing in the long run, but will get it some quick cash now in exchange for lease payments later.

And that’s all just past Coyotes subsidies — the new $15 million a year would have to paid off with some other pot of money, as yet to be determined. That’s something that the Glendale council is going to have to weigh against the news that the ice machines in Seattle are still working.

Reminder: There’s a public hearing — yes, finally public — set for tonight at 7 pm, at which the arena lease will be discussed, with actual details hopefully revealed. Glendale doesn’t seem to be able to afford a webcam, so those of us not within driving distance of the soon-to-be-sold Glendale City Hall will just have to await press reports of the action.

[UPDATE: @TravisWaldron of ThinkProgress notes that Glendale floated a remarkably similar City Hall sale idea for the Coyotes last year.]

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29 comments on “Glendale may sell City Hall to pay off Coyotes subsidies

  1. Is it time to put people in jail over this outright corruption of public resources? But then, the public also can probably not afford the trial and incarceration.

  2. I seem to recall that selling and leasing back city hall is one of the things that Stockton, CA did in order to raise some much needed funds a while back.

    Just sayin’…

  3. Maybe that’s what the incompetent buffoons on Glendale council are counting on, Mary…

    I’d say this latest news is outrageous, but then, it’s really just a continuation of Glendale’s history of colossal stupidity.

    I can’t wait for Jerry “Glendale is your cash register” Weiers to weigh in on this one…

  4. SS: Good point.

    If ever there was a funding issue that DEMANDED a plebiscite, this is it. Hockey is not an essential service nor “vital to the operation of the city” in any way. It is, by any definition, a want and not a need (though very few Glendale taxpayers seem to want it at all, hence the problem…) so send it to the voters to decide.

  5. I neglected to mention in the post above that Glendale is getting around any possible referendums by classifying the City Hall sale as an “emergency” measure…

  6. Unbelievable. The fact that the CoG wants to dig a deeper hole for the city just amazes me. A couple of decades ago, I visited Glendale a couple times and thought it was a nice city. With lack of funds, it’s probably turning into a rundown dump. I foresee the city filing for bankruptcy in a few years…you only have so many assets you can sell off before you realize your net worth is negative.

  7. I agree on the bankruptcy if they approve this latest round of stupidity with the Coyotes. They’ve tapped themselves out already and that 15 million dollars will need to come from somewhere. Why they don’t take the smart option and sell off the arena and it’s land it beyond me.

  8. This is so f’n stupid, I just can’t stand it. Why aren’t the residents of Glendale demanding entrance to this meeting, in spite of the fire marshal, and forcing them to stop?

    Not another dime. Let the Coyotes declare bankruptcy.

    That must be some really good meth out there in Arizona. I really don’t think there’s any way any rational person could be this stupid. Seriously, how does this happen?

  9. Travis Waldron points out that Glendale proposed much the same thing last year to pay off Coyotes debts:

    I guess they decided to raid the landfill fund instead. That sure worked out well, huh?

  10. Maybe I’m too conspiratorial here, but if you were a mayor or a counselor who just wanted this thing to die, wouldn’t this be the perfect poison pill that people “in the bubble” would nod for and normal denizens would be appalled?

    Apologies for the buzzwords.

  11. Neil: Doesn’t selling the family silverware to pay off gambling debts always qualify as an “emergency” measure?

  12. I don’t think so, Ty. Because in a year, most people are going to say, “Hey, aren’t you the idiot ex-politician who suggested we…?”.

    This isn’t a career-enhancer. Put it that way.

  13. The S&L scandals/bailouts didn’t seem to hurt Reagan.

    The fraudulent actions that lead to the Bank & insurance bailouts produced exactly zero criminal charges and a good number of the criminals responsible are still holding down their high paying jobs (with taxpayer funded bonuses fully in place).

    So far, the many and varied “Quantative Easing” actions (which for those unfamiliar with Fedspeak, means printing money just because you can) haven’t hurt the popularity or the electability of this President, nor in any way inconvenienced the gang of thieves he has appointed to watch the treasury.

    I’d very much like to think you are right, Mike. But the history of the last 30 years doesn’t really back that up. Even the moron Mayor in Miami didn’t get recalled. I wonder if he’s being considered for a position with a sporting organization of some kind in Florida?

    Most of the politicians responsible for the arena fiascos in Glendale will no doubt earn very rewarding appointments to private boards and/or paid roles with some of the very same companies that benefitted so greatly from their “vision”.

    I’d say raping the public treasury pays very well in the modern age, whether you do it intentionally or accidentally… the rewards are great, the risk mostly is to others.

  14. The Miami-Dade mayor did too get recalled! I agree that this is more exception than rule, however — there are simply way too many reasons why people vote the way they do, increasingly including campaign ads, for a single issue to be punished at the polls.

    Plus, there’s the whole Douglas Adams “vote to make sure the wrong lizard doesn’t get in” problem…

  15. You need windows media to play it, but they’re almost at the coyotes money.

  16. Wow, you not only need Windows Media Player, you need *Windows* with Windows Media Player. That’s harsh.

    Anyone live tweeting, maybe?

  17. Blame the granicus platform and silverlight. They’re up to item 22 while the city hall lease is item 26.

  18. In item 22 they’re hiring a financial consultant (JNA Consulting Services) to help them manage the debt and one council member was cheering the idea of saving $200k .

  19. Oops… Microsoft® Windows Media Player™ is required to view this video. Maybe it’s not Silverlight.

  20. Ok, reading item 26 in. But one council guy suggests it be tabled for later… it’s seconded. Proposing it be brought up at the next financial workshop. All vote in favor. Delay delay delay.

  21. You’d think for all that money they’d at least get the team named “Phoenix Coyotes of Glendale.”

  22. They didn’t even let the woman who was supposed to explain the lease of city hall speak. Can’t let this get in the way of saving the Coyotes.

  23. The next workshop is scheduled for Aug 20th, but that was a suggestion and they said they’d leave the exact date up to an advisor of some sort.

  24. Citizen comments at the end of the council meeting… interesting.
    Jeff Blake (Dean of Glendale’s of DeVry branch) is testifying that keeping the coyotes in town is good for business. It just so happens that DeVry is next door to the arena. He says that with a Superbowl on the way they need to put a good foot forward and keep that area vital. I guess he didn’t notice the acres of farmland next to the arenas.

    Bill Bensky? is against mortgaging city hall and thinks 5-7% sounds like too high an interest rate. Maybe, but what bank really wants to foreclose on city hall and what will they do with a city hall in the middle of a city in default ?

  25. And… Bernadette ?Olagnini? is upset about all the Coyotes discussions going on behind closed doors. She’s against subsidizing the NHL and the city hall mortgage. She thinks Westgate will survive without the Coyotes.

    Arthur Brusten gave the council his address because he likes to remind himself what his address is. He’s pointing up and down at every council member and giving them some shame. He says Sherwood is the one who proposed tabling item 26. I guess he’s the MacWorthy/Stand Up America person of Glendale.
    All who spoke are of the over-50 grey hair crowd.

  26. Huh! Sorry Neil, I thought Carlos (?) just decided his ‘work was done’ after giving the city’s tax base entirely to Loria and chose not to run again. I must be confusing him with somebody less scrupulous…


  28. Piggy’s gonna drop a freebie on the rubes around here, cuz he’s a little drunk and generous tonight. Hockey in the desert isn’t bankrupting Glendale because the folks in charge of Glendale are just so smitten with hockey they’ve lost their heads. It’s because they’re getting greased. Glendale doesn’t need more rhetoric, it needs an investigative journalist or two going digging for dirt.

    Just don’t sniff around the local NFL team, ok? We’d have to send some of the boys from the “outfit” to deal with you, capiche? I don’t mind amateurs like the NHL gettin’ their comeuppance but we are the big boys when it comes to citizen extortion and our racket is permanent and protected.

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