15 August 2001

Long vows suit, says stadium is illegal

Geez, I go away for five days and when I return the Arizona Cardinals stadium fiasco is still the talk of the town. Now, West Valley developer John F. Long is throwing a monkey wrench into the deal by asking (in a 17 page letter) AZ A.G. Janet Napolitano to declare the proposed Tempe stadium site illegal and to bar the use of any tax money for the facility. If she doesn't, Long said he will file a lawsuit.

Long's letter makes the following points:

  • According to Long, the law says that all possible stadium sites had to be presented to Maricopa County residents before they voted on a sales tax to fund the facility.
  • The law requires the sports authority to own the stadium land; the Tempe site will be leased from Salt River Project.
  • Tempe violated its agreement with the authority by failing to secure approval from the FAA earlier and by failing to make a required $3 million payment to the authority by Aug. 3.
  • Several members of the authority board had conflicts of interest that should have barred them from voting on the stadium site in February.

Ted Ferris and TSA officials are "fuming" at what they characterize as "groundless allegations". The action by Long could have serious ramifications for the $335 million project, as a legal challenge could mean months of delay.

Will this stadium ever get built? Will Bidwell throw in the towel and sell the team? On the KFYI Mohan in the morning show, many callers expressed feelings of cynicism on the matter.

This all has been a terrible public relations nightmare for Tempe and the Bidwells. But you reap what you sow - the shenanigans employed by the TSA were shady - while I knew all along that the notion of a fair site selection floated at the time of the proposition election vote was a sham, many bought into the lie. And it isn't about a west side/east side valley dispute - it's about misleading the public, while a scripted agenda was already set in place. Well, we probally haven't heard the last of the unsavory developments in this sordid deal.


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