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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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jobing.com arena

Jobing.com Arena

Well, well,well…Glendale has offered a crumb to its residents by making public the names of the four bidders that responded to the Beacon Sports RFP (at a cost of $100,000) for management of its arena, Jobing.com. More to come about the bidding process in a future blog.

The contenders are: Phoenix Monarch Group, R Entertainment, SMG World and Phoenix Arena Development. Have you noticed who is missing? We see none of the expected and well known players in either the arena management industry or the entertainment venue industry – Global Spectrum, AEG and IFG. I suspect that when they learned that as part of the bid Glendale was seeking their investment (counts for 10% of bidding score) they probably said thanks, but no thanks.

Let’s look at the bidders. First up is R Entertainment. It is a privately held company registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission in August, 2006. It is located in Scottsdale with 1-10 employees. Its Statutory Agent is Kerry Dunne and according to the media, a partner. It manages one venue, the Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill County Park near Flagstaff. By the way, the seating capacity of the Amphitheater is 2,750, not quite a 17,000 seat arena. I congratulate them for submitting a bid but I fear they are way out of their league (no pun intended). Investment counts for 10% of the bid score and this company is too small to make a major investment in Glendale’s arena. Experience is another 15% of the bid score and the company’s management experience with the Pepsi Amphitheater does not meet managing a similar sports facility. Personnel accounts for another 10% of the score. The current management staff of the arena numbers about 135, full time and part time. With a staff of 1-10 people R Entertainment is simply too small to manage a venue of this size. This company’s bid could lose about 35% of available points according to the bid criteria. Quite frankly, it should have been rejected as not meeting the basic criteria of the bid.

Next up is SMG World whose headquarters are located in Philadelphia, PA. It is a world-wide event and venue management company established in 1977. It has the personnel and experience to manage Jobing.com arena and advertises on its website http://smgworld.com that it has managed 230 facilities. So it certainly is a viable contender. One problematical concern revolves around an old saying that you are judged by the company you keep. SMG has a relationship with the Bidwill subsidiary, Rojo Event Management. Yes, the same Rojo that submitted a bid to the city to manage its Youth Sports fields adjacent to the stadium. Rojo’s bid for management is greater than the current Global Spectrum contract and offers way less revenue to the city. This is the Youth Sports field bid the city should reject unless it likes being taken to the cleaners once again.

Another bidder has indeed risen like the mythical Phoenix Bird and that is the Phoenix Monarch Group (PMG). It was registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission in August of 2012 and its managing member is Arturo Jimenez. In the one telephone conversation I had with Mr. Jimenez (at Councilmember Lieberman’s request) he indicated that an Alvarez (don’t remember the first name) and Tony Herrera were part of his group (more about them in a minute). This group should sound familiar to you. It the group that Councilmember Alvarez brokered a meeting for with former Mayor Scruggs and former Councilmember Lieberman. At that time they were asking for about $7M to host 25 events. Their experience is problematical. They ran an event for the Hispanic Fire Fighters Association (HFFA) which ended with HFFA paying vendors because PMG did not. The only other event (that they classify as ‘major.’ I do not) PMG hosted was a Hispanic Festival for a Peoria Councilmember. PMG easily loses 35% of bid points for lack of experience, personnel and investment. But once again the specter of relationships is troubling. I do not know if the Alvarez Mr. Jimenez referred to is a distant, or otherwise, relative of Councilmember Alvarez. Mr. Herrera, another PMG participant, has a close relationship with Councilmember Chavira with both listed as managing members of two companies, Cool Heads,LLC. and the McCoy Group, LLC. At least in terms of public perception, if no other, Councilmembers Alvarez and Chavira should recluse themselves due to a conflict of interest. They have no business advocating for or participating in discussions and votes on choosing a Beacon bidder to manage the arena.

Last up is Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership. It is headquartered in Phoenix but according to the Arizona Corporation Commission it is a foreign limited partnership. It is a privately held company and owned by the Phoenix Suns Limited Partnership. The general partner of the Phoenix Suns Limited Partnership is JDM Sports, Inc. and as of 1992 Jerry Colangelo was its president. This company was created for one purpose only and that is to manage the Suns basketball team’s venue. It crafted a sweet deal for itself with the City of Phoenix. Reminds me of the Ellman deal, Coyotes and Jobing.com Arena. It has experience in managing one venue exclusively and somehow or another; I don’t think they will be making an investment in Glendale’s arena. More likely is that, if chosen, Glendale will end up making a hefty payment to this company.

So there you have it – the four bidders that Glendale taxpayers spent $100,000 to find. Pick your poison. It’s the height of chutzpah for Beacon to even present R Entertainment or the Phoenix Monarch Group as viable bidders to the council. Clearly neither one is qualified by experience alone, to manage Jobing.com. Left standing is SMG World with ties to the Bidwills or Phoenix Arena Development with ties to Colangelo. To date, we have not seen the details of any of these bids and have no clue as to the management fee any of these groups is requesting.

Coyotes logoKeep in mind that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the Beacon process was “silly” and it is. The same, major issue is before this council just as it was before the former council and that is, if you choose to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, Westgate viable and save the city’s third major economic area, you must pay the freight and use the team owner as the arena’s manager. The only issue for Glendale is what can it afford to pay to make that happen and will it be enough to keep the Coyotes long-term?


agenda 1June 11, 2013 will be a regular Glendale City Council meeting. The agenda, however, is anything but regular. There are four items of special note. All but one item is under Consent Resolutions. Consent Resolutions means that unless an item is pulled by a councilmember for further discussion that item will be passed or rejected along with the 13 other consent resolutions and there will be no discussion – nary a peep out of anyone. The usual disclaimer prior to introduction of the consent resolutions is to say, “They are of a routine nature or have been previously discussed by council in a workshop session.”  Let me assure you two of the consent resolutions are not of a routine nature and have never been discussed publicly by this council. They are consent resolutions #13 and #14. Here is the link to council’s meeting agenda of June 11, 2013:  http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Meetings/Agendas/061113.pdf .

Both of these consent resolutions require doing business with the Tohono O’odham Nation. Item 13 is a grant request from the TO on behalf of the Aguila Youth Leadership Institute (http://www.aguilayouth.org/) in the amount of $112,100. The second item, item 14 is another grant request from the TO on behalf of Heart for the City in the amount of $100,000.

In the Staff Report, staff’s apparent rationale for doing business with the Tohono O’odham is that we have submitted for the same type of grants from the Gila River Indian Community.  So, if we could take grant money from the Gila River Indian Community then by golly, we should be able to take grant money from the Tohono O’odham. Between August, 2010 and June, 2011 the city received grants totaling $290,188 from the Gila River Indian Community. The funds were used by From the Heart, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix and the Glendale Parks, Recreation and Library Department. The Gila River Indian Community have been one of our staunchest allies in the legal warfare with the Tohono O’odham since the issue of a casino IN Glendale (not near Glendale –darn it – but IN it) arose.

Is something missing? Have all legal issues between the City of Glendale and the Tohono O’odham been resolved? Are we suddenly buddies? Receiving grant money from a legal ally is far different than receiving grant money, no matter how well intentioned, from your legal enemy. It is the height of hypocrisy on Glendale’s part. I am ashamed that staff has brought these items forward. If I were on council and could take action at the meeting I would pull both items off of the Consent Resolution Agenda and speak directly to them and vote a resounding “no” on both – no matter how well intentioned they are. If council approves these two consent resolutions, where are this council’s principles?

Glendale City Council

Glendale City Council

Another Consent Resolution is more amusing in context. Item 8 calls for adoption of council’s Key Priorities for Fiscal Year 2013-2014. This one is a hoot! Council’s very first priority is, “Transparency internally and externally to assure the community that the decisions made for the well-being of Glendale are discussed openly with input invited.” Followed by their second priority, “Arena management, debt service, hockey agreement and enhanced revenues will play a large role in policy formation and financial strategy. The above noted transparency will be vital to gaining community support for decisions necessary to optimize the arena value to the Glendale community” (Italics mine). It appears that we all have missed something in council’s translation of transparency.  It looks like council’s definition of transparency is not what the general public assumes it to be. We certainly haven’t seen much transparency when it comes to the Beacon RFP process or Renaissance Sports and Entertainment Group’s discussions with city personnel or council.

greed 1Which brings up our last target of incredulity, Item 21, Fiscal Year Budget Amendments, as an Ordinance to be adopted. I love numbers. While most people won’t go to the numbers pages and really read them. I always do with gusto because they are so revealing. These amendments are transfers from one hand in the budget into a different hand in the budget. The transfer is from Contingency (you know, the “rainy day” account the city is trying to rebuild) to the City Manager’s Office.  In this case, did you know that this council is paying $500,000 for the Council Special Audit? Can you imagine it? Half a million dollars on a special audit – an audit whose primary purpose is to fix blame on somebody. Let’s hope they find a half million dollars worth of blame because they certainly are not going to find a half million dollar pot of gold at City Hall.

The council is also spending another $100,000 on the Arena RFP Process run by their hired consultant, Beacon Sports.  We all thought Councilmember Alvarez wanted to “get rid” of all the consultants? Not so. They must be OK if they are consultants that serve her purposes. Remember, this RFP process is the same one that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman characterized as “silly.” All of this comes from a council which, when 4 of them were running for office, ran around wringing their hands, complaining about the previous council’s fiscal irresponsibility and vowing it would never occur again because their mission was to be fiscally accountable and transparent about it all. Looks like the joke is on you, Glendale voters.


BeaconToday the Beacon RFP for arena management was made public and is posted on the city’s website at  http://www.glendaleaz.com/purchasing/bidopportunities.cfm. You can read the entire document for yourself.

One of the most important elements of the RFP is the duties of the manager. There is one that is the most telling and confirms that the new manager perhaps may not be the owner of a team/anchor tenant, “Act as agent for the City in executing the operational requirements of any license/lease agreements with professional sports team(s) and/or anchor tenant(s) (i.e. manage day of game activities and interact with the sports teams regarding use of the Arena).”  As you can see, the city is seeking an entity to be its agent in dealing with any sports team that wishes to use the arena.

This manager would be responsible for booking all events, be a party to all marketing efforts and have control over the concessions.

In terms of qualifications, the manager must be a nationally recognized company (this banishes the very thought of the Phoenix Monarch Group forever); have three years experience in managing a facility with an NBA or NHL team; and “The Manager must have current experience in operating such a facility on behalf of a public entity, such as the City of Glendale.” Two entities immediately come to mind: AEG, which is managing the arena now for the NHL or Global Spectrum, which manages the University of Phoenix Stadium for the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA).

The preferred term of the arena manager contract is 5 years with 2 options to renew for additional 5 year terms. It is up to the prospective candidate to bid on the cost the city would pay for such management. It is clearly understood that it contains an “at-risk” provision meaning any losses would be borne by the manager. The city is also asking for an alternative compensation plan that would enhance revenues that the city gets. The city is also asking that the arena manager plan to invest in the arena, “State the amount of a proposed investment in the Arena that the respondent Manager is willing to provide (please review the Proposed Additions and Capital Repairs Schedule for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2014 for further details). Describe any restrictions/repayment requirements on any such investment. Also, describe any additional fees, restrictions, or incentives that may apply to any investment.”

The evaluation criteria are as follows:

  • Business/Marketing/Transition plan worth 30%
  • Compensation price worth 30%
  • Experience and organizational structure worth 15%
  • Personnel worth 10%
  • Investment worth 10%
  • References worth 5%

All responses are due no later than May 24, 2013 at 5 pm EDT. But perhaps the most interesting element of the proposal is, “INQUIRIES OR OTHER CONTACT WITH ANY OFFICER, AGENT, OR EMPLOYEE OF THE CITY OF GLENDALE REGARDING THE ARENA AND/OR THIS REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL, INCLUDING CONTACT BY PROPOSER’S CONTRACTORS, AGENTS, REPRESENTATIVES AND CONSULTANTS, COULD RESULT IN A PROPOSAL BEING DISQUALIFIED.”  The very first question that occurs is why is Mayor Weiers scheduled to meet with Pastor and his group on Friday, April 19th? Either Pastor has no intention of managing the arena or he is not aware that such a meeting could disqualify him.

Well, there you have it. The RFP is pretty much what we expected it to be. Although at this point, Beacon and the RFP seem to have no relevance in an owner’s attempt to acquire the team. The NHL has staked out that territory and will let the city know whom it has chosen. With city council still holding fast to the notion of a $6M annual management fee to any prospective owner I dare say when they see current average annual revenues of $6M and current annual expenses of $12M, they may very well say Hmmmm.

Expect more commentary on this RFP after you and I have had more time to digest it. I thought it important to made public as quickly as possible so that it receives the widest public scrutiny and commentary as possible.




Late on Friday, April 4, 2013, Craig Morgan, who covers sports for Fox Sports Arizona among a growing list of other media, did an outstanding job of summarizing the recent Coyotes saga. To read his entire article, please go to http://www.foxsportsarizona.com/nhl/phoenix-coyotes/story/Coyotes-ownership-saga-hits-stretch-run?blockID=889001&feedID=3702.


George Gosbee


Anthony LeBlanc

I have chosen some of the most salient snippets for further commentary. He said, “The group led by George Gosbee and Anthony LeBlanc has already submitted its purchase bid to the NHL, and Darin Pastor’s group submitted the paperwork for its proposal to the league on Friday. Greg Jamison’s group is still working on a proposal, but it is expected that they will submit it by the middle of next week, likely under pressure of an imposed NHL deadline.”


Darrin Pastor


Greg Jamison

The latest rumors say the LeBlanc/Gosbee deal is for 15 years, with no opt-out clause and an option to buy the arena. There is no word on the kind of deal submitted by the Pastor group. That’s odd after his flurry of recent publicity. I am especially gratified to see that Greg Jamison is still a player. I must admit that I hope he prevails. I have met him and talked to him in depth and it is still my belief that this man is a perfect fit for the Coyotes. Morgan offers that Matt Hulsizer may still be in the hunt as well. Maybe…maybe not. Mr. Hulsizer, a successful businessman, married into a family of wealth. They were willing to support him on his first attempt to buy the Coyotes…and why not? A hundred million dollars would have come from the City of Glendale. Yes, the family investment was still healthy but not as much was on the line as the city’s investment under Hulsizer. My guess is that there is no will to continue on the part of the family. I could be wrong for I have proven so in the past but somehow or another, I am willing to write him off.

Mr. Morgan then goes on to say, “What is likely to happen soon is that the NHL will choose an exclusive buyer, then approach Glendale to negotiate the lease agreement. The Glendale City Council hired Beacon Sports Capital in late March to solicit bids from management companies to run the arena, as well as to handle negotiations with any prospective owners.”


Gary Bettman

This confirms my assessment in previous blogs that the League is in the driver’s seat this time. They will choose the buyer and Glendale will either come to terms with that buyer or not. The option of relocation of the team is certainly not dead yet.  This council may have thrown good money after bad in hiring Beacon Sports Capital. It appears that Beacon will have no role in the process when the NHL selects the owner. There will be no one to vet. If, however, Glendale cannot or will not come to terms with the newly selected owner, Beacon will then have a role as council will most likely Mayor Weiers’ Plan B with the use of 4 managers for the arena.

In additon, Morgan states, “What that lease agreement will look like is anyone’s guess. Glendale City Councilwoman Yvonne Knaack said recently that the annual fee to the city could “be anywhere from $6 (million) to $10 million on operating, and then maybe another $9 million on debt.” 

Councilmember Sherwood publicly recognized a figure of at least $10M to $12M annually for a lease management agreement.  Vice Mayor Knaack acknowledged a similar figure as well. She is also correct about the arena construction debt of approximately $9M a year. This is where it gets dicey. Will this council accept a deal that requires a substantial annual payment along with the annual construction debt? Combining the two, the figure will be somewhere in the $20M range annually. greed 1But that requires this council to cut expenses elsewhere to absorb the costs of the deal and to continue to build a contingency reserve fund. To date there has been absolutely no will to cut by the new council. In fact, they are considering adding 15 firefighter positions and a new $650K truck and 31 police positions to this budget. They simply cannot do both – manage the annual costs associated with the arena while creating new budgetary expenditures.

Norma Alvarez

Norma Alvarez

We have heard enough from Councilmember Alvarez to know that she wants to pay nothing for the arena and I suspect she thinks there is some group out there that will pay the city for the privilege of managing the arena. Not even her beloved Phoenix Monarch Group was willing to fall for that. If you remember, their base fee was $7M for a limited number of events…read tractor pulls. Nevertheless, she stubbornly holds to that position and has even managed to elicit support from Councilmembers Hugh and Chavira. Councilmembers Martinez and Sherwood recognize the importance of keeping an anchor tenant at the arena for the future of a vibrant Westgate that attracts new development in and around it.


Yvonne Knaack


Jerry Weiers

That leaves two question marks, Vice Mayor Knaack and Mayor Weiers. Vice Mayor Knaack is on the horns of a dilemma. I suspect in her “heart of hearts” she knows that keeping the team as an anchor tenant would be the right choice. But her strongest backers, the fire union, will put tremendous pressure on her if they see their 15 additional firefighter positions and new truck evaporate in this year’s budget. Mayor Weiers, on the other hand, derided the deal the previous council had with Greg Jamison. He should be reminded that Anthony LeBlanc has said publicly that any deal with the city must be similar to the previous deal on the table with Jamison. Weiers is also looking for a deal on the cheap. It will be time for these two people to decide what is more important. Is it more important to send the team packing and leave the legacy of an uncertain future for the arena and Westgate because it’s what their supporters in their previous election now expect of them? Or is it more important to accept that for the sake of Glendale, of Westgate and of West Glendale’s future development potential that sometimes one has to make the difficult and unpopular decision? We will see…soon enough. We all hope that they realize the importance of keeping an anchor tenant at the arena.

I am pleased that this long, painful Coyotes ownership saga is coming to an end. I wish all theCoyotes logo potential owners well although I continue to root for Greg Jamison.  The Coyotes team has been beleaguered and beaten for too long. They, more than anyone or anything else, have earned certainty about their futures.



Darrin Pastor

I, just as many did, listened to the Darrin Pastor interview on Roc and Manuch, NBC Sports Radio, 1060AM on April 4, 2013.  I wish him well but as a tried and true skeptic, the jury is still out.  Let’s take a closer look at some take-aways from that interview.



Six months of due diligence

calendarPastor claimed that he has done six months of due diligence. That due diligence should have included finding out what the City of Glendale’s expectations are. This is the start of April and going back six months puts him in October, 2012. I was a councilmember until January 15, 2013, and I never heard of him until his press release of several days ago. He certainly wasn’t talking to anyone in the city. That place is like a sieve. If he had talked to anyone, it would have become common knowledge around City Hall.

Why does any deal take so long?

This must be naiveté on Pastor’s part although he is a very intelligent businessman. It comes as a bit of a surprise to hear that statement from him. Surely he’s done hundreds of deals using legal counsel and should know that lawyers tend to make everything take twice as long. He also claimed that he is using lawyers with municipal experience. So it certainly shouldn’t be a surprise to realize that working with a municipality is slow and cumbersome. It isn’t as if any one prospective deal took the entire four years that the Coyotes have been ownerless. Over those four years there has been a succession of bridesmaids but never the bride. We are all painfully familiar with the list . None of them took longer than 12-18 months before biting the dust.

Glendale is where the team is going to stay

jobing.com arena

Jobing.com Arena

We have heard that from every prospective buyer of the team. The question should be, not is the team going to stay in Glendale?… but how long will you keep the team in Glendale? There should be a ten year or better commitment before an opt-out clause is executed. That indicates a commitment to build the team and build a solid fan base. If the opt-out clause is five years or less, whoever buys the team will take the money and run…somewhere else. Better yet, would be to get an assessment from each of these would-be buyers of his estimate of how much time he feels is necessary to turn the team around and become profitable. Realistically, no prospective owner wants to commit “sports suicide” and pour money down a rat hole. Each one of them (you would think) has developed a strategy to turn the team around and become profitable.

Return on investment

ROIMr. Pastor uses “banker-ese” terms. He labels the team as an “undervalued asset.” This gentleman (and his family) didn’t become successful because of pixie dust. He is a very astute businessman. If he is successful in purchasing the team using capital from family investments, there will most definitely be an expectation of profitability down the road. Again, the question becomes how long is that road?

Where is Beacon Sports?

Mr. Pastor said directly, “Beacon Sports is not involved.” His statement should be of concern and can be interpreted several different ways. Is Beacon not involved because Pastor has no interest in managing the arena and simply wants to pay rent as a tenant? Why isn’t Beacon involved as the city hired the company to vet and to negotiate with any prospective arena manager?

Got his homework today

homeworkMr. Pastor said that he received paperwork from the NHL today and would begin working on it immediately. Good for him. If that is the case, don’t expect any quick resolution. Plan to wait a month or two. He also said he had met with and talked to Mike Nealy but that he was talking to and dealing directly with Bill Daly. I expect Mr. Daly is talking to a lot of prospective owners these days.

Mr. Pastor looks good on paper and is saying the things we all want to hear these days. Shades of Matt Hulsizer. Hulsizer went very public and was obviously an avid hockey fan but his deal went south when the Goldwater Institute questioned the city’s sale of $100M worth of bonds whose proceeds would be paid to Hulsizer. The devil is in the details…of the deal.

Mr. Pastor meets Mr. Weires

Mr. Pastor in his meeting with Mayor Weiers today characterized at least twice, the mayor as “refreshing.” Glad they enjoyed meeting with one another. If Pastor really was politically savvy or had received advice from his municipally-wise lawyers, he would have introduced himself to all of the councilmembers, remembering that Mr. Weiers is just one vote of seven.

I wish all of the prospective buyers well and would like nothing more than for someone to succeed with a long term commitment. Call me jaded. I have been “around the block” quite a few times on this issue and have seen prospective owners come and go. To date there’s been a lot of public posturing, first by LeBlanc/Gosbee, now Pastor. It’s all sound and fury signifying nothing.


city hall 2

City Hall

On Tuesday, March 26, the Glendale City Council met in regular session. There were 29 agenda items. Based on previous meetings that I attended as a council member that is a pretty hefty agenda. Lo and behold! This council whipped through it in the record time of one hour! One could assume that it was because of their extreme efficiency but that would be an erroneous assumption. This is a council that questions nothing and comments even less. My first question would be, did any of them do their homework and actually read the material?

Coalition 1 photo

City Council minus
Councilwoman Alvarez

For example, Item 20 was an agreement to rebuild two refuse trucks. Not sexy at all. But one replacement truck costs about $500K. For half that price, roughly $250K two trucks are being rebuilt. This is an action never before taken by our Public Works department. You would think some on council would have thanked Mr. Stuart Kent, Executive Director of Public Works, for taking this proactive and innovative approach to city equipment, saving the city easily a half million dollars. Not a peep from this council. Just…nothing. Amazing.

westgate 1There was approval of an agreement with the current Westgate owners for sidewalks, shade canopies, etc. between Tanger Outlet and the rest of Westgate. No one on council took the time to thank the owners for their efforts and financial participation in this public-private partnership. No one asked about implementation of a “HAWK” system for pedestrians trying to cross 95th Avenue to get to Westgate. There is a “HAWK” in use on Glendale Avenue at about 66th Avenue. It allows the pedestrian to push a button which causes a yellow light to flash followed by a red light to stop all vehicular traffic. It allows the pedestrian to cross a busy street safely by stopping all vehicular traffic in both directions. Wouldn’t this be a wonderful addition to move pedestrian traffic between Tanger and the rest of Westgate? Before I left council I was advocating such a strategy. Sadly, no one took up the cause.

There were four items that you would think would have engendered at least minimal questioning or comment.  Two were awards of contracts. One was Item #16 to Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally in the amount of $200,000 for an external city audit and the other was Item #21 to Beacon Sports in the amount of $100,000 for issuance of an RFP and handling of negotiations with possible arena managers. There was not one question. There was not one comment. There was no discussion whatsoever. Could ‘a been a day in the park. Not one word to the general public about either contract’s terms, scope, time frame, or justification for cost. Just…nothing.


Horatio Skeete


Dick Bowers

The other two items were just as astounding.  Item #26 was termination of Horatio Skeete as Interim City Manager and demotion back to Assistant City Manager. Not a “thank you.” Not a word of recognition for the good things he had done for the city. Not even a comment from Mayor Weiers saying “that council was moving in a new direction.” Just…nothing. In the next action, Item #27, council appointed Dick Bowers as Interim City Manager. Not a word about his background, expertise or experience. Just…nothing. Item #28 was tabled by staff and signals that council has not come to terms with Mr. Tindall on what he will receive financially upon his termination. That did not slow up this council for one minute as they approved Nick Dipiazza as Interim City Attorney in Item #29. Just…nothing.

Norma Alvarez

Norma Alvarez

Once again Councilmember Alvarez was AWOL. How many times has it been? Also worth noting (and I may have missed it as I watched dumbfounded by this council) was the lack of a vote by council to approve her absence.  Did she not want to be on record as a yea or nay vote on the Beacon Sports contract or has she injured herself again? For the third or fourth time? Her lack of representation of the interests of ALL (not just a selected demographic) of the people of her district is being noted by many.


Mayor Weiers

Mayor Weiers “good ole boy” public persona is beginning to wear thin as he fancies himself a “deal maker” behind the scenes. Latest word on the street with regard to Coyotes ownership is that nobody is in charge (except for Beacon Sports as of today for a $100,000 fee). Possible owners are speaking directly to various councilmembers to encourage them to champion their proposal. What a way to set up internal warfare.

Of course, the carpetbaggers, Andrew and Darcy Marwick, residents of Phoenix were in attendance. Some people (not I) refer to them as “Dumb and Dumber.” Mr. Marwick took the occasion of approval of the agreement with the Westgate owners to once again denigrate the actions of the previous council in “propping up” a failed Westgate. I would imagine he could opine on any subject (as he often does) and claim its failure is due to the previous council.

Lastly, when was the last time there was no citizen comment at the end of a council meeting? I would venture to say,convention 2 probably 4 years. If the past council had voted to approve the Beacon Sports contract, I dare say Ken Jones and half dozen others would have been railing against such a vote. No Jones, no Thruston, no Dempskey- no usual cast of wacky characters- to accuse this council of throwing good money after bad by approving Beacon Sports. This time just…nothing.

transparentThe new buzz word in government is “transparency.” We all know what it means; the ability to see through something without any kind of blockage. Transparency has to do with disclosure. It means providing information about an issue, event, project, policy, program etc. and then providing a way for people to find and view that information. This council proved tonight that transparency is not a meaningful part of its agenda.

I prefer to call this council, the “Opaque Council” (The OC). Something is opaque when you cannot see through it. Theopaque action is characterized as hard to understand because it is not clear or is obscured by the deliberate misuse of language or inaction. It also has a secondary meaning, which is being dull, stupid or unintelligent. I leave it to you, dear reader, to choose which definition of opaque is more relevant and meaningful to you.



Today the city released as an agenda item for Tuesday, March 26, 2013 city council meeting. The council will be asked tocity hall 2 formally ratify a contract with Beacon Sports Capital Partners that has apparently been in effect since March 4, 2013. In fact, the City’s Communications Director, Julie Frisoni, denied as late as March 15, 2013, that there was any such contract.  An action George Fallar and I have speculated upon for the past month.

I suspect that the contract was vetted in a previous Executive session after a council workshop. Keep in mind, council may not vote in a workshop or Executive session but they can certainly come to consensus and give direction. When I served on council, a majority routinely gave direction in an Executive session. The council meeting on March 26 merely ratifies direction provided as a previous executive session. So much for a greater transparency embraced verbally by the new council and recently lamented as absent by the infamous Ken Jones in recent letter to the editor in the Glendale Star. The bloom may be off the rose for Mr. Jones and his love affair with the new council.

BeaconThe Beacon contract is short and sweet and takes only 4 pages. Glendale tasks Beacon with developing an RFP “process for the future lease and management of the Arena to prospective Venue Managers…” Its role is that of liaison for Glendale and it has no power to bind Glendale to any contract. Its duties consist of: reviewing all existing business contracts; preparing the RFP; soliciting interested parties and assisting them in their due diligence and review process; providing a recommendation to the city manager and council; developing the arena management agreement and sealing the deal between the venue manager and the city. We have to presume that the NHL approves of such an arrangement as they continue their silence (there is an occasional platitude signifying nothing).

This contract is in effect for 6 months (September 6, 2013) or if a venue manager is secured before the end of the statedcontract term, it will terminate earlier. When this agreement is ratified by council, presumably on March 26, Beacon will receive a $25,000 retainer. In addition to that retainer the city will pay $400 per hour for the services of 3 Beacon principals: Richard Billings, Jr., Gerald Sheehan and Christopher Billings. Oh, and by the way, these fine gentlemen will be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, lodging and meal expenses. The costs of this contract are not budgeted in the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget. The funds will have to come from the “Unappropriated Contingency” Fund (read the $17M allocated in this year’s budget to pay for an arena manager).  Lastly, both sides in the contract recognize that this agreement is proprietary and confidential.

In a previous blog, “Ripples in a cornfield,” I related that a 2005 suit was filed against Beacon Sports, IFG and Michael Reinsdorf by West Coast Arena Ventures, LLC in the Superior Court of California. West Coast Arena Ventures sued because it alleged that its confidentiality was breached by Beacon, IFG and Michael Reinsdorf. I do not know the outcome of this suit.  It has been alleged previously that when IFG and Michael Reinsdorf had work they could not or chose not to take they passed it on to Beacon. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.leopard 2 It may very well come to pass that the Reinsdorf/Kaites group will have an inside track because of its relationship, perceived or real, to Beacon Sports.

The previous Reinsdorf deal for the purchase of the Coyotes insisted there be a 5 year opt-out clause. If they hold to the same line, the Coyotes could stay for an abbreviated period and then be moved to…Seattle?


In a previous blog I shared the speculation that,upon the recommendation of Michael Reinsdorf, Managing Member and Co-Founder of the International Facilities Group, LLC (IFG), the City of Glendale hired Beacon Sports to negotiate with any and all potential buyers of the Coyotes. George Fallar, in his blog, www.nebulousverbosity.com, has fleshed out a great deal of information about Beacon Sports.

It’s time to revisit Beacon Sports. We know that the City hired them to produce a report, Survey of Professional Sports Venue Agreements – January 2011. There remains speculation about Beacon’s involvement in the Moyes bankruptcy. It appeared that IFG did not want to get involved in the bankruptcy and Michael Reinsdorf may have suggested the use of Beacon.

Why does any of this matter? Well, in 2005 suit was filed against Beacon Sports, IFG and Michael Reinsdorf by West Coast Arena Ventures, LLC in the Superior Court of California. That is fact. Since I do not know the disposition of the suit, I will use “allegedly” liberally.

Two groups, The Schwartz Group and John Cambianica Associates Architects formed West Coast Arena Ventures, LLC and hired Beacon to evaluate the project’s potential and to assist in development of the project. Allegedly, Gerald Sheehan, Managing Director of Beacon, signed a confidentially and non-compete clause with West Coast in pursuit of the development of a sports complex “in the High Desert of Southern California” (from filed complaint, page 3).

The suit then goes on to allege that Beacon presented the project to Michael Reinsdorf and IFG Palmdale 1allegedly shared material confidential information without having Reinsdorf or IFG sign a confidentiality/non-compete agreement. In the complaint Reinsdorf is alleged to have met in person on behalf of IFG with officials from the City ofPalmdale 2 Palmdale to present what was essentially West Coast’s project. It is claimed in the suit that as a result West Coast lost a business opportunity with Palmdale as a result. All of this information is readily available.

So what does this have to do with the City of Glendale? We know that Glendale hired Beacon
Sports to do a study in 2011 to provide a positive rationale for the Hulsizer deal. That deal included the City’s purchase of parking rights for $100M. We know that Glendale already has a business relationship with Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the White Sox and one of the tenants of Camelback Ranch, a city owned facility. We know that the City hired IFG to manage construction of Jobing.com arena. We know that, allegedly, Beacon Sports, breached a previous confidentiality/non-compete agreement in 2004-05.

Who is to say that if the City has indeed hired Beacon Sports to negotiate a sale of the Coyotes, whether Beacon Sports would share information with a Reinsdorf?? If the Coyotes end up being purchased by a Reinsdorf, it should be examined very carefully.  Based upon the original Reinsdorf proposal to buy the Coyotes, they wanted an “opt out” clause of 5 years. That is not enough time toTrianglef build the kind of fan base needed to make the team viable. From all appearances the Coyotes would be moved. How many dedicated fans are willing to invest financially and emotionally in a team that could move?