The Ellman Cos. said it filed a motion Tuesday with Maricopa County Superior Court asking a judge to stop the Los Arcos public vote in Scottsdale this spring.
The company is asking that the measure on the March 9 general election ballot be pushed to November 2004.
Developer Steve Ellman already is appealing another ruling that allowed his Los Arcos Town Center redevelopment agreement with Scottsdale to go to a citywide vote in the first place.
The measure, Proposition 300, will ask Scottsdale voters if they want to overturn a City Council decision to grant Ellman up to $36.75 million, plus interest, in sales-tax revenue generated from his proposed “big-box” development at Scottsdale and McDowell roads, the former site of Los Arcos Mall. The deal could stretch over 40 years and result in up to $183 million for Ellman.
Scottsdale published an advertisement in the Tribune and other publications on Tuesday seeking arguments for or against Proposition 300, and a separate measure that could change the city form of government, so the statements could be printed in an information pamphlet for the March election.
Arguments must be submitted by Dec. 10 at a cost of $100 each. Early ballot voting begins in February and the pending appeal over the subsidy vote are Ellman’s reasons for asking for the postponement, said Bob Kaufman, a senior vice president for Ellman.
“People would be voting on something that the court may overturn,” Kaufman said.
He said money spent for the arguments could be unnecessary and that there would be a bigger voter turnout because a presidential election takes place in November 2004.
Scottsdale Taxpayers Oppose Paying for Ellman’s Mistakes pushed for the public vote on what would be the largest sales tax subsidy in city history. A spokesman for the group said he believes Ellman’s latest court action is a delay tactic to try the public’s patience with the vacant 42-acre fenced site.
“Now he wants to drag this out in hopes of people will get sick of it and give him what he wants,” said Tim Mooney, a paid political consultant for the taxpayers group, which is backed by supermarkets threatened by the presence of a Wal-Mart Supercenter, which is proposed along with a Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse and a Sam’s Club.
David Roderique, general manager of Scottsdale’s economic vitality department, said he did not know about Ellman’s latest appeal when reached at his home Tuesday evening.
Roderique said he doesn’t expect a ruling on Ellman’s first appeal before Dec. 11.
“The judge had indicated that he was going to rule pretty quickly on the appeal,” Roderique said. Kaufman said he expects the ruling to come back in January and that the loser would appeal in a higher court. Roderique said the city clerk could wait until mid-January to have the March 9 ballots printed. And if the court rules in favor of Ellman’s appeal, votes on the Los Arcos measure would not be counted.
A delay of the Los Arcos public vote would not help Ellman, Kaufman said. And the courts “are moving as fast as they can, but the election is moving faster than the courts are.”