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  • AZ Supreme Court lets World View ruling stand in county's favor

    Aug 30, 2018 | Read More News
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    The Arizona Supreme Court Aug. 29 decided not to review an Arizona Court of Appeals Division 2 ruling that said a state law governing economic development spending in counties allowed Pima County to lease a building to World View without competitive bidding.
    World View 
    The decision leaves in place the Appeals Court’s December decision to overturn Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods’ 2016 ruling against the County.
     
    The Supreme Court’s decision is the third court loss since December suffered by the Goldwater Institute, which sued the county in 2016 over the county’s economic incentive agreement with World View, an innovative aerospace technology company that uses high altitude balloons.
     
    The remaining issue in the Goldwater lawsuit is over the state Constitution’s gift clause, which restricts the extent to which public funds can be used for the purposes of private enterprises. The County asserts the county taxpayer greatly benefits from the World View agreement. The county owns the manufacturing and headquarters building it is leasing to World View, and the company, over the 20-year term of the lease, will pay the county $7.8 million more than the cost of construction. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the gift clause law allows for the expenditure of public funds for private enterprises as long as the consideration received in return from the private entity isn’t “grossly disproportionate” to the public expenditure.
     
    “At the end of 2015, Pima County’s economic development and legal teams worked diligently to craft an economic development agreement that complied with all applicable state laws to retain World View and its dozens of high paying jobs in Pima County. These repeated court victories are proof of our meticulous adherence to state law and the great care taken to protect county taxpayers. We’re striving every day to grow our economy and create a prosperous future for the residents of Pima County and by extension, this state. It is unfortunate that the Goldwater Institute continues to pursue this lawsuit and stand in the way of growth and prosperity," County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said. 
     
    To recap the Goldwater lawsuit:
    • Goldwater asserted the county had to seek competitive bids for the World View Lease – rejected in December by the state Court of Appeals, which the Supreme Court has just refused to review.
    • Goldwater asserted that the county violated state and county laws governing competitive procurement of professional services (architect and construction-manager-at-risk) – rejected by Judge Woods earlier this month (Goldwater has vowed to appeal)
    • Goldwater asserted that the county violated the state gift clause – to be decided.
    Read the Court of Appeals ruling from December.