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Coyotes headed to court after city votes to void arena lease deal

The only definite home for the Arizona Coyotes is a courtroom.

The team will take legal action against Glendale, Ariz., after city officials voted, 5-2, Wednesday night to void the arena lease it has with the Coyotes. Team attorney Nicholas Wood said the club will file a temporary restraining order and a $200 million lawsuit.

“What we have witnessed here tonight is possibly the most shameful exhibition of government I have ever witnessed," Coyotes co-owner Anthony LeBlanc said in a statement. “The citizens of Glendale should be very concerned about the government that they have leading them right now because this was not appropriate.

“We have been absolutely wronged this evening by a group that is acting in incredibly bad faith. Our view is the team will remain here, but the city is not acting in a business-friendly way and should be ashamed.”

Glendale and the Coyotes signed a 15-year lease in 2013 that calls for the city to give the team $225 million during the contract. After a failed attempt this week to renegotiate, Glendale officials called a special meeting to discuss and void the deal.

An Arizona statute says its agencies may void any deal in which any person who had a significant role in creating the contract becomes employed by the other party. Craig Tindall resigned as city attorney in February 2013 and became general counsel of the Coyotes six months later.

The city and Coyotes differ on how much of a role Tindall had in drafting the lease. The state bar ruled against an earlier ethics complaint filed by a city official.

“This was an extremely difficult and painful decision for me and for our City Council,” Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said in a statement. “We have worked for months to resolve the inequities in this contract. Only recently did we learn that the integrity of the process had been compromised.

“We can’t and won’t support a contract that favored the sports team over the interests of Glendale citizens. Tonight’s public comment was replete with warnings, litigation threats and the team assured the community that ‘it’s not going to happen’ when asked about the possibility to renegotiate. In a way, I am thankful that our citizens have seen the obstacles we have faced to make this agreement work.”

More than two dozen Coyotes fans reportedly appeared at the meeting. The full video of the proceedings is here.

"One thing that was illustrated tonight is that we have fantastic fans,” LeBlanc said. “God love them for coming back to this council chamber after all the times they’ve been in here over the years."

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