February 10, 2005
Owners of a downtown Scottsdale property filed a complaint Wednesday with Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, alleging the city violated the state Open Meetings Law in selecting a developer last week without an official vote.
The owners of Floyd Investments, Joyce Floyd and Janet Harris, called on the attorney general’s Open Meetings Law Enforcement Task Force to investigate the Feb. 1 City Council study session.
The council normally uses study sessions for discussion and presentations by city employees. However, during that meeting the council selected a company to redevelop the Rose Garden parking lot, located at the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Goldwater Boulevard.
City officials have envisioned building a residential and retail development on the site while preserving its 124 public parking spots.
The council was considering proposals from Rose Garden Partners, a collection of local developers; and Green Street Properties, based in Las Vegas and Scottsdale.
Mayor Mary Manross gauged council members’ positions through discussion, instead of a roll call, until coming to a 4-3 majority in favor of Rose Garden Partners.
Manross repeatedly insisted throughout the meeting that no vote was being taken. City Attorney Joseph Bertoldo and City Manager Jan Dolan agreed, characterizing the discussion as "direction."
Neither developer was permitted to make a presentation, and Green Street representatives were never called to speak. Study sessions do not allow for public comment.
"All we ask is that the city have a legal, legitimate, fair and open process for not only the public, but for the . . . finalists," Floyd and Harris wrote to the attorney general. Their corporation owns property across Goldwater Boulevard from the parking lot and has lent its support to Green Street.
Manross has alleged that Floyd and Harris’ complaints are politically motivated, as the proposal they backed was not selected.
The complaint was filed only to ensure Scottsdale follows the law, Harris said. "I would fight just as hard if they had done this to (Rose Garden president) Fred (Unger)."
A member of the attorney general’s task force has been assigned to determine whether the allegations — if true — are Open Meetings Law violations, said Jessica Funkhouser, an assistant attorney general. An investigation may be launched once the city has had an opportunity to respond.
Bertoldo said Scottsdale’s legal position — that no vote took place — stands. He declined further comment.