Glendale to vote on amended lease agreement with Coyotes
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Glendale City Council will hold a special voting meeting Friday at 9 a.m. on an amended version of its arena-lease agreement with the Coyotes. It posted the amended agreement on its website Thursday morning.
If the council approves the amendments, the city and team will reach a settlement that will keep the Coyotes at Gila River Arena for at least the next two seasons while ending the legal battle between the two sides.
"This decision will bring much-needed certainty to our fans and sponsors about our near-term future and an end to the uncertainty brought about through this legal action. We know that hockey works in the Valley and we are committed to Arizona for the long term. We thank Coyotes fans and sponsors for their incredible support throughout this process. They have proven that they are among the most loyal and ardent in the NHL."
The City Council voted 5-2 in June to void its 15-year agreement with the team. The Coyotes then filed suit against the city, and a Maricopa County Superior Court judge granted the team’s request for a temporary restraining order to keep the agreement in place while ordering the city to make its final $3.75 million quarterly payment to the team.
The first evidentiary hearing between the Coyotes and Glendale was scheduled for July 31.
Glendale’s case rested on an Arizona Statute’s application to former city communications director Julie Frisoni, who did consulting work for the Coyotes after she left the city, and former city attorney Craig Tindall, who now serves as general counsel for the team. Arizona Revised Statute 38-511 allows a government entity to end a contract with another party if an employee who was "significantly involved in initiating, negotiating, securing, drafting or creating the contract" goes to work for the other party in the agreement.
Multiple legal analysts told FOX Sports Arizona they believed the Coyotes had the stronger case, but that assessment is now in question. As part of the settlement, Tindall is no longer employed by the Coyotes and neither he nor Frisoni is allowed to work for the Coyotes in any capacity for the duration of the agreement. Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, councilman Gary Sherwood and LeBlanc all insisted that decision was merely a concession in the settlement to ease tensions, and not a reflection of either side’s view of the strength of its respective case, but one source familiar with the situation said there was legitimate concern on the Coyotes’ part that they would lose the case.
The Coyotes have admitted that the uncertainty the legal battle created was having a significant impact on the their offseason business. It was difficult to attract sponsors, difficult to sell suites, difficult to secure season tickets and general manager Don Maloney admitted he had lost out on free agents he had hoped to sign.
The team was only able to sign restricted free agent forward Mikkel Boedker, a key piece of its future, to a one-year deal. Boedker’s agent, Jarrett Bousquet, admitted the team’s hazy future was a factor.