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Coyotes Taking Legal Action Against Glendale for Ending Lease Agreement

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE -- The City Council of Glendale met publicly Wednesday night and voted, 5-2, to cancel its arena lease agreement with the Coyotes – a 15-year deal established in July of 2013.

After the meeting, attorney Nicholas Wood said the team would file for injunctive relief and a temporary restraining order, and file a $200 million lawsuit against the City.

Anthony LeBlanc. Photo by Norm Hall.

"What we have witnessed here tonight is possibly the most shameful exhibition of government I have ever witnessed," Coyotes Co-Owner, President and CEO Anthony LeBlanc said. "The citizens of Glendale should be very concerned about the government that they have leading them right now, because this was not appropriate."

He added: "I don't want to be viewed as just a bunch of people that are looking to take legal action. It is our right; it is a necessity. 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."

While the council meeting was taking place, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told Hockey Night in Canada viewers: "I'm not concerned about the Coyotes. If I lived in Glendale, I'd be concerned about my government."

On Thursday, the NHL released the following statement:

"The National Hockey League stands by, and will fully support, the Arizona Coyotes in their efforts to vindicate their contractual rights in response to last night's outrageous and irresponsible action by the City of Glendale. We continue to proceed on the basis that the Coyotes will remain in Glendale and will be playing their home games at Gila River Arena."

In a statement sent to Phoenix radio station KTAR, the Westgate Development Manager said it disagrees with the City of Glendale's decision to cancel its lease agreement with the Coyotes.

Gila River Arena. Photo by Norm Hall.

"We are disappointed with the direction chosen by the Glendale City Council last night," Westgate Development Manager Jeff Teetsel said in the statement. "The City should recognize the positive contribution the Coyotes have made in the context of economic development, including the development of the Tanger Outlets Westgate in 2012, the addition of the Tanger Phase 2 in 2014, the Dave and Buster's now under construction as part of the Westgate Entertainment District and the application pending for the construction of a new hotel at Westgate. The combination of all this activity has produced well over 1,000 new permanent jobs, in excess of $200 million a year in annual sales for which the city now receives millions of dollars a year in annual recurring sales tax revenue, and millions of dollars in building permit fees to the City of Glendale. It is a shame that a majority of Glendale councilmembers fail to appreciate and consider the economic activity around the arena and direct financial benefit to the City."

LeBlanc said he was pleased by the number of Coyotes fans who attended the council meeting and especially pleased by those who vocally supported the team during the portion of the meeting designated for public comments.

"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."

On Thursday, LeBlanc again praised the fans.

"The overall reaction of our fan base has been terrific," he said. "We all know we're in a fight together."

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Thursday, Anthony LeBlanc answered questions from local, national and international reporters via conference call. Click here to LISTEN to the call.

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