Coyotes pay bills after City of Glendale threatens to lock team out of arena over unpaid taxes

Gila River Arena Generic
Posted at 8:49 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 13:22:23-05

GLENDALE, AZ — The Arizona Coyotes say they have paid all outstanding charges after the City of Glendale sent a letter to ownership of the team, warning that it will be locked out of Gila River Arena if it doesn’t settle unpaid taxes.

The letter, dated Dec. 8, said the Arizona Department of Revenue filed a notice of state tax lien for $1.3 million in unpaid Transaction Privilege Tax, of which $250,000 is owed to the City of Glendale.

The letter sent to team ownership read in part:

“The City of Glendale has serious concerns as to whether IceArizona [the team’s ownership group] is a going concern, able to meet its current and future financial obligations. As such, I have instructed ASM Global, our arena manager for the Gila River Arena, that if all outstanding amounts owed for taxes and back rent are not paid in full by 5:00 PM MST on December 20, 2021, the Arizona Coyotes will not have access to the Gila River Arena until such time as approved by the City of Glendale.”

A spokesperson for the Arizona Coyotes released the following statement late Wednesday in response to Glendale's letter:

“We have already launched an investigation to determine how this could have happened and initial indications are that it appears to be the result of an unfortunate human error. Regardless, we deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused. We will make sure that by tomorrow morning, the Arizona Coyotes are current on all of our bills and owe no state or local taxes whatsoever. And we will take immediate steps to ensure that nothing like this can ever possibly happen again.”

Invoices confirming payments were sent to ABC15 on Thursday morning, and the Coyotes said:

"All payments have been made. The Coyotes are current on all bills and tax liabilities."

This is just another step in a decade-long feud between the City of Glendale and the Arizona Coyotes over arena operations that many say has not looked good for either party involved.

It was learned in August of 2021 that the 2021-2022 season would be the last for the Coyotes at Gila River Arena after the city of Glendale informed the NHL that it would not renew its agreement with the team. The future home of the Coyotes remains in limbo as no potential arena deals floated over the past few years have resulted in solidified plans.

The most likely suitor right now is a plan along Tempe Town Lake where the Coyotes would look to build an entertainment district surrounding a new arena. But even that idea has hit its speed bumps as Sky Harbor has expressed concerns over the entertainment district impacting the airport's flight paths.

The Coyotes next home game after Dec. 20 would be Dec. 23 against Tampa Bay.