Is Scottsdale's new agreement with PGA against state law? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Is Scottsdale's new agreement with PGA against state law?

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

A group of residents in Scottsdale say they're concerned over the city's newest agreement with the PGA. In December, the City Council approved a deal to spend $15 million renovating the clubhouse and course at TPC in return for higher lease fees during the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The lease fees total about $250,000 per year for 20 years.

"I was indeed concerned," said Jim O'Connor, a 12-year resident of Scottsdale.

O'Connor said he's concerned the $15 million price tag far outweighs the direct benefit taxpayers will see to the tune of $5 million over 20 years in lease fees.

"It doesn't look like a win for we the people," said O'Connor.

O'Connor and a group of concerned residents contacted attorney Carrie Ann Sitren. She reviewed the agreement and believes it violates the state construction.

"We have the Gift Clause in the Arizona Constitution to protect citizens against these kinds of bad deals," said Sitren.

The Gift Clause says the public benefits from any contract between a city, county or municipality and a private group cannot far exceed the public costs. Indirect benefits, like the millions spent in Scottsdale's local economy by visitors during the tournament, cannot be factored into the equation.

"The Arizona Supreme Court decided that indirect benefits could not be considered in the legal analysis," explained Sitren.

City officials say they did not factor indirect benefits when considering the new agreement.

Dan Worth, Scottsdale's acting city manager said extended media coverage, increased PGA fees and having an established tournament already based in Scottsdale provide direct benefits that far outweigh the $15 million price tag for course renovations.

"The rationale and reason we feel we comply is those three points. We get a return for the investment," said Worth.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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