Thursday, January 21, 2010

Goldwater Institute: Goldwater Institute asks Judge to Find Glendale in Contempt of Court

City continues to evade multiple court orders to disclose details on Coyotes deal
PHOENIX--After four months of inaction and waiting for the City of Glendale to comply with multiple judge's orders to promptly produce public records relating to negotiations between city officials and owners of the Coyotes hockey team, today the Goldwater Institute asked the judge to find the city in contempt of court.

In June, the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation filed a public records request with the City of Glendale after media reports surfaced indicating that city officials were planning to offer illegal subsides to potential bidders on the bankrupt Coyotes hockey franchise in an attempt to keep the team playing in Glendale.

When Glendale officials refused to comply with the records request, the Goldwater Institute took the city to court. In July, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Edward O. Burke ordered the city to turn over to the court any records generated by negotiations on an ongoing basis. Then the court would decide which records were too sensitive to be made public, which was the city's argument against releasing the documents.

Glendale has not submitted any records since September 16, 2009 despite highly publicized negotiations with interim owner, the National Hockey League, and future owner Ice Edge Holdings about a lease agreement for the team to keep playing in the city-owned arena.

"Glendale's actions represent a lack of respect for the court and the law," said Carrie Ann Sitren a Goldwater Institute attorney. "In addition to wasting taxpayer money on a bankrupt hockey team, the city government is thumbing its nose at its obligation to keep its citizens informed. Clearly, stern action is warranted."

Judge Burke has ordered Glendale to comply with Goldwater's public records request on four separate occasions. In addition to finding the city in contempt, the Goldwater Institute would like the judge to set a schedule for producing records that the city must follow.

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