Supreme Court to let AG argue case against regents

An artist’s rendering of the planned 330-room Omni Hotel in Tempe. 

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

The Arizona Supreme Court is going to give Attorney General Mark Brnovich one more chance to try to sue the Board of Regents over what he contends is an illegal deal to build a hotel and conference center. 

In a brief order, the justices said they will hear his argument that he did not wait too long before challenging the arrangement as a violation of the Gift Clause of the Arizona Constitution. They also will allow him to argue that, timing or not, he has separate and independent authority to bring suit at any time against the regents for making a deal to evade taxes and for exceeding the board’s authority to enter into leases. 

But even if he wins at the Supreme Court, that’s not the end of it. All that would do is allow him to go back to a trial judge to actually try to prove his claims. 

The fight is over a plan to exempt from taxes a parcel that Arizona State University owns at the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive. 

Construction already has started to build a 330-room Omni hotel and a 30,000-square-foot conference center. And there is a formal groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for September 17. 

Brnovich says the deal amounts to a gift of public money. 

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