The City of Glendale is threatening to lock Arizona Coyotes out of the Gila River Arena due to overdue tax bills and unpaid arena fees, athleticism has learned.
On December 3, the Arizona Department of Revenue filed a notice of tax lien in Maricopa County against IceArizona Hockey LLC, the company that owns the Coyotes, for more than $ 1.3 million in unpaid state taxes. and city. The town of Glendale, which has been locked in a long dispute with the Coyotes over overdue bills, has already informed the ASM, the Gila River Arena management company and the Coyotes team president and CEO , Xavier Gutierrez, on the cancellation of the Coyotes’ business license.
The city of Glendale owes about $ 250,000 in unpaid municipal taxes, according to a letter from City Manager Kevin Phelps to Gutierrez, and the remaining amount is owed to the state. The state’s tax lien notice, obtained through a public registration application, says Coyotes owe taxes dating back to June 2020.
The Coyotes, according to the notice sent to the ASM and the team, will have until 5 p.m. MST on December 20 to pay the outstanding arena bills for the 2020-21 season, as well as the tax bill. suffering. If they do not pay off the remaining debt by then, the City of Glendale has asked the ASM to deny team employees access to the arena and arena offices used as administrative space. . Arena vendors would also be blocked.
Arizona’s first home game after the December 20 deadline is December 23 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Coyotes, who are entitled to an informal hearing on the matter if they file a written request within 10 days, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Glendale City Manager Phelps said he called NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Wednesday to brief him on the situation. A league spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
In August, the City of Glendale informed the team that they would be pulling out of their joint lease agreement for the Gila River Arena, essentially forcing the Coyotes out of the arena by June 30 of next year, making the 2021-22 season the club’s last. at the establishment.
This notice of termination follows several months of negotiations between the city and the team on the terms of a lease extension and potential renovations to the arena. Public records revealed that the stalemate followed several notices of overdue and overdue balances owed by the Coyotes under the lease.
While some observers felt the City’s position was a lever to bring the Coyotes back to the negotiating table, the City remained firm on severing ties with the team.
âWe have reached this point of no return,â said Phelps athleticism in August. “There is no hesitation.”
In February, athleticism posted a long story about the Coyotes that detailed an organization plagued by internal issues, including a “toxic” work environment and a litany of financial issues, among other concerns. Overdue invoices and unpaid debts were a recurring theme, with several vendors complaining that they had not been paid or had been forced to accept a significantly reduced portion of what was owed to them for services and / or expenses. goods.
(Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images)