More Glendale Follies

I almost hate beating on the silly folks who run the City of Glendale even further, but they keep screwing up.

One of the reasons I think that city officials like those in Glendale like to dabble in real estate and sports stadiums is what I call the "bigshot effect."  They don't have any capital of their own, and they don't have the skills such that anyone else would (voluntarily) trust them to invest other people's money, but with a poll of tax money they get to play Donald Trump and act like they are big wheels.  The Glendale city council did this for years, and when their incompetence inevitably led to things starting to fall apart, they have simply thrown more money at it to try to protect their personal prestige.

But unfortunately, incompetence generally is an infinite reservoir, and apparently the City has screwed up again.  Years ago, when the City promised the rich people who owned the AZ Cardinals a new half billion dollar stadium, they put a contract to that effect on paper.  Granted, this was a sorry giveaway, spending hundreds of millions of dollars for a stadium that would be used by the Cardinals for 30 hours a year, by the Fiesta Bowl for 3 hours a year, and by the NFL for a Superbowl for 3 hours every 6-7 years.  But, never-the-less, the City made a contractual agreement.

And then, in its rush to be real estate bigshots, the city turned about 3700 parking spaces promised contractually to the Cardinals over to a developer to create an outlet mall (of the sort that has been quietly going bankrupt all over the country over the last few years).  Incredibly, the city did this without any plan for how to replace the parking it owed the Cardinals.  To this day, it has no plan.

Apparently, there were also some shenanigans with $25 million that had been escrowed to build a parking garage.

The demand letter also blames the parking problem on the city's dealings with Steve Ellman, Westgate's former developer and a one-time co-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes. The letter states that Ellman's relationship with the city has been "characterized by a lack of transparency."

The letter raises questions about a January 2011 arrangement in which the city and Ellman equally split a $25million escrow fund that had been earmarked to build a parking garage in Westgate, the team said.

Ellman put that money in escrow in 2008 after failing to keep a promise to the city to provide a set amount of permanent parking in Westgate.

By early 2011, half of that money went back to Ellman's lenders as part of a deal to try to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, while the city received the other $12.5 million in the account.

What a mess.  This is what happens when politicians try to be bigshots with our money.

 

 

  • http://togetrichisglorious.blogspot.com Colin

    One of the reasons I think that city officials like those in Glendale like to dabble in real estate and sports stadiums is what I call the “bigshot effect.” They don’t have any capital of their own, and they don’t have the skills such that anyone else would (voluntarily) trust them to invest other people’s money, but with a poll of tax money they get to play Donald Trump and act like they are big wheels.

    I think this is exactly right -- getting elected to office to play with other people's money is a lot easier than making it yourself. We could probably save a lot of dough if we just bought these guys copies of SimCity so they could work out their issues through that.

  • marco73

    The easiest way to raise capital is to have a local government throw money at you.
    Honestly, go to a bank and tell them your plans for a housing project, sports facility, green-job business expansion, high speed choo-choo, whatever.
    Banks with skin in the game will want all sorts of paperwork and promises, with expectations of being paid back.
    Not so with governments. All sorts of slippery customers somehow walk out of federal, state and city buildings daily with large checks and almost no accountability.
    Modern day Willie Sutton's don't hold up banks; they walk into City Hall with their hand out.

  • Mark2

    The sad thing is what happens to the poor people of Glendale. They could taxes to the moon, but eventually everyone with means will move out, leaving the poor and elderly behind.

    Then what. I suppose bankruptcy will help to some extent, but in 20 years Glendale could end up being desert wasteland (well until the State Bails them out. )

  • EarlW

    Up here where there are a few more hockey players, Quebec City is building a new arena to host a team that they don't have. The Nordiques (1979–1995) moved out and they need their 'fix' of hockey. The Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche.

    I'm sure they would be happy to have the Coyotes, now that RIM (and Balsillie) is probably out of the picture.

    What an immense waste of money.

  • Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master

    >>> Apparently, there were also some shenanigans with $25 million that had been escrowed to build a parking garage.

    Wait... WHAT?

    Government officials?

    Accounting Shenanigans that would get a private businessman thrown in jail?

    Never have I ever, ever imagined such a thing might happen.

    I am shocked! SHOCKED, I tell you, to find out this has been going on!

    You know, I don't mind parasites. I object to cut-rate ones.

  • me

    This is one of the reasons why I am staying away from buying a house... the idea that I'd be stuck with the decision making of people like THOSE people...

    The US hasn't figured out a good way to limit the authority of people in power - it's all or nothing, and deals like the sports stadiums demonstrate the danger of that.