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The human cost of keeping the Phoenix Coyotes

Phoenix Coyotes fans wait for their team to arrive at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Tuesday, April 24, 2012, in Phoenix.

Michael Chow/AP/Michael Chow/AP

The human cost of keeping the Phoenix Coyotes was paid Wednesday by 49 employees of the city of Glendale, Ariz.

As noted here by the Arizona Republic, those 49 people lost their jobs because the city is trying to close a $35-million (all currency U.S.) gap between its spending and revenue in its budget for the 2013 fiscal year. While a few of those jobs may be saved, the possibility of more layoffs remains. The city is also set to raise property taxes substantially and cut services.

Over the last two years the NHL, which owns the financially moribund Coyotes, swallowed $50-million of the Glendale taxpayers' money. Well, almost $50-million. The city only has available $20-million of this year's subsidy - due the day after the Coyotes are out of the playoffs - and Mayor Elaine Scruggs would like some of that back as well as a break from having to raise the other $5-million.

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A majority of the seven-member Glendale council is also poised to vote in favour of handing over between $16-million and $20-million out of this year's budget to tentative Coyotes owner Greg Jamison as a "management fee" for Jobing.com Arena.

The architects of this mess - Scruggs and city manager Ed Beasley - will soon be headed for the hills. Scruggs, 68, is not going to run for re-election this summer and Beasley, 53, announced his "retirement" earlier this year.

Scruggs and Beasley led the city of 250,000 to the edge of the financial abyss with their strategy of attracting professional sports teams to Glendale by building expensive playpens for them. The construction loans make up a healthy chunk of the city's overall debt of $1-billion or more. The fees and taxes from the developments expected to spring up around the facilities and pay the cost of those loans were deep-sixed by the recession.

But don't fret about how Scruggs and Beasley will manage. They have generous pensions awaiting them. Plus, as 12 News reporter Brahm Resnik discovered, Beasley may already have plans for his "retirement" in place.

Resnik found this document filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission. It is the article of organization for Ed Beasley & Associates LLC. The plan for the business was not listed but a good guess is consulting work for business people who need to deal with city officials in Glendale and nearby Phoenix.

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About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More

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