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Goldwater institute, Coyotes buyer in stalemate

A fan of the Phoenix Coyotes holds up a sign against the Goldwater Institute during the NHL game against the Calgary Flames at Arena on March 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Christian Petersen/2011 Getty Images

Discussions between Matthew Hulsizer, prospective buyer of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute, failed to end the stalemate over the municipal bond deal that is to finance the sale of the National Hockey League team.

Olsen said Friday that Hulsizer, a Chicago businessman, sent new material concerning his recent offer to guarantee the suburban city of Glendale, Ariz., would receive $75-million (all currency U.S.) by the end of the 30-year lease for Arena. Hulsizer is to get $100-million from Glendale in the sale of the bonds to help buy the team from the NHL, and in return Glendale is to receive revenue to cover the bond payments from parking, arena rent and other fees.

Hulsizer's numbers were "slightly more fleshed out," Olsen said Friday, but he did not offer to increase his guarantee.

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"There is an effort here, a recognition taxpayers are at risk, clearly [Hulsizer]recognizes that but it's not corrected [in the guarantee]" Olsen said. "The constitutional violation, which is a separate issue, is still there."

The Goldwater Institute, a public watchdog, says it will seek a court injunction against the bond sale if Glendale and the NHL take it to the market. The institute says the agreement with Hulsizer violates Arizona laws against excessive public subsidies for private enterprises.

Hulsizer declined to comment.

Olsen said it is Glendale's responsibility to draw up an agreement with Hulsizer that is constitutional. Glendale officials insist they have opinions that the current deal is legal, but Goldwater disagrees.

Glendale officials and Goldwater officials spent time this week sniping at each other with duelling media releases. On Thursday, Glendale accused Goldwater of refusing to meet to discuss the matter.

Olsen said that is not true. But after the city threatened to sue Goldwater for opposing the bond deal, Olsen said the Institute felt any future meetings would have to be public or in the presence of journalists.

"Only Matt Hulsizer was willing to do that," Olsen said of the public-meeting proposal. "We never got a reply from the city. They keep saying we won't meet. That's not true. We just won't meet in a back room."

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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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