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More delays: Judge invalidates part of Coyotes lease deal

Shane Doan, Ray Whitney

Phoenix Coyotes’ Shane Doan, left, is embraced by teammate Ray Whitney (13) after Doan scored his 300th career goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz. The Stars won 3-2 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Matt York)


This just in from The Arizona Republic:

A judge Tuesday afternoon invalidated just one section of Glendale City Council’s lease agreement with a likely Phoenix Coyotes buyer. It is not clear yet whether he will invalidate the entire ordinance.

Attorneys from Glendale and [the Goldwater Institute] appeared before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Judge Fink requested that the language of the ordinance be rewritten to reflect that it was not passed as an emergency order. Since the deal did not have the council votes to take effect immediately, residents would have time to pursue a public referendum on the lease deal.

Whether we’re back to square one, we’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out if the judge throws out the entire ordinance. At the very least, it’s another delay in a situation where time is of the essence.

"[Delays] may in fact cost us the deal and the city of Glendale a professional hockey team,” said city attorney Gary Birnbaum during today’s proceedings.

According to the Phoenix Business Journal, opponents will now have the opportunity to collect signatures and force a fall referendum.

Deal opponents have taken out petitions and have 30 days from the June 8 council vote to collect 1,862 signatures to get a Coyotes deal referendum on the November ballot. A city official said it’s too late to put a Coyotes referendum on the August 28 city primary ballot.

The move could essentially kill [Greg] Jamison’s bid to buy the team from the National Hockey League either by squelching the favorable arena deal or scaring off investors by dragging out the process. “That’s their real goal,” said one official familiar with the Coyotes deal.

One resident, Joe Cobb, plans to start collecting signatures Wednesday, according to the paper.