Mysterious group collecting signatures to attempt to derail Arena renovations

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Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents the Phoenix Suns

By Mike Sunnucks | Sports Business Journal

A Phoenix group wants to take the $230M deal to renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena to voters. The effort aims to delay or undo the agreement approved by the City Council Wednesday. The group, Common Sense Phoenix, filed paperwork on Friday for two potential ballot measures on the arena deal. Petition Partners has been hired to collect more than 27,000 valid signatures over the next month for the measures to make the ballot.

That process could start as soon as Friday. Tim La Sota, an attorney representing Common Sense, said the measures would go on the November ’20 ballot unless the Phoenix City Council calls a special election. The city of Phoenix is paying $150M toward the renovations.

La Sota said arena renovations could not be started until voters had a chance to decide the city deal’s fate. The bulk of the arena makeover is scheduled to start in the summer of ’20.

Suns attorney Jordan Rose said the city deal cannot be taken to voters and she does not expect a delay. “The action of the council was an administrative, non-referrable act and the courts will ultimately decide,” said Rose. She also wants more information on who is bankrolling the arena referendums. “This petition company is not inexpensive, to gather that many signatures someone will be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, so this is absolutely not some grassroots effort,” she said.

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