Frpm the Glendale Star:
A handful of Coyotes fans decked out in jerseys attended the Sept. 22 evening city council meeting to voice their support for keeping the team in Glendale.
And for the second time at the same evening meeting, Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes, approached Glendale council to make an appeal for them to support Blackberry billionaire Jim Balsillie’s bid in bankruptcy court to buy the team.
Previously, Moyes had attended the Sept. 15 afternoon council workshop, where he also attempted make his pitch for the city to back the Balsillie bid which offers them $50 million, but was not allowed to speak because it was not an agenda item.
At the end of the evening meetings, citizens are allowed up to five minutes to speak on any topic; however, council is not permitted to respond.
“I am a resident of Tolleson, I moved out here because I am a fan of the Coyotes,” said Monique Reaux. “I do not back PSE (Balsillie’s bid). Hockey can and will flourish in the desert if you give us a chance.”
Balsillie’s intention is to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
“I do not back the PSE bid,” said Amy Jo. “I bought season tickets after the bankruptcy action was taken. The team will get better. Westgate City Center is gorgeous. I love spending money there. If the Coyotes are gone, I won’t go to Westgate any more. I am a Coyotes fan, I am asking you to back the NHL and my team.”
One resident voiced her opinion that it was in the city’s best interest to support PSE.
“I have been a Glendale resident for 11 years,” said Marjorie Haberman. “I like Glendale and I like sports. What is the difference to Glendale if the team moves this year or next? Please consider the PSE offer.”
The city owns Jobing.com Arena, which it built in 2001 for $180 million. In November 2001, the city signed a 30-year lease agreement with Coyotes Hockey with a provision the team would pay the city $600 million if it left early with the penalty amount reducing each year.
Moyes had prepared a 23 glossy paged presentation to council telling them the PSE deal made sense.
“Glendale only receives $2 million in hockey revenue each year,” he said. “With the PSE bid, Glendale gets $50 million and the city gets $25 million just for endorsing PSE even if they lose the bid. If the NHL bid is accepted, the team almost certainly leaves and Glendale gets nothing.”
Moyes, who owns Swift Transportation, also threw in a guarantee of employment to all non-arena staff.
“Even with the Great One, we couldn’t make it work. No buyer can sustain $35 million in losses each year,” Moyes said. “NHL Commissioner Bettman has said before he wants to see the team go to Las Vegas or Kansas City. The question is, will the team leave with a total loss to the taxpayer or will they leave with a huge taxpayer win, $50 million. Don’t pass this up.”
After the meeting adjourned an attorney speaking on behalf of the city, Gary Husk, said he found the remarks to be very self serving and disingenuous.
“Mr. Moyes and his group are calling it a $50 million gift when in fact, there is $450 million owed the city in contractual obligations and penalties if they break the lease at Jobing.com Arena,” Husk said. “The city is quite content to allow the bankruptcy judge to make the determination of the appropriateness and evaluation of the bids.”
The city has been steadfast in its support of the NHL bid for the team.
A ruling by bankruptcy court Judge Redfield T. Baum is expected any day.