Stuart: reporting on recent TPC Scottsdale suit missed the mark

You have written a few articles about litigation that I have pursued on behalf of the taxpayers of Scottsdale starting in 2013.

Mark Stuart

Your recent articles were grossly factually inaccurate.

I am writing to ask you to correct your factual misstatements. Our society suffers when a newspaper advocates for public corruption, rather than accurately reporting the news. It is normal for public interest litigants to lose in Superior Court in Maricopa County. Historically, these lawsuits are resolved by the Arizona Supreme Court.

The TPC litigation is seeking to overturn a contract to manage the city’s TPC Scottsdale golf facility. I have funded this litigation entirely.

The lawsuit seeks to stop losses that are being incurred by the taxpayers, and to recover money that has been unlawfully given to the golf course manager by this city council and prior city councils. Every taxpayer and resident in Scottsdale pays higher taxes and fees because of these losses. There is no logical or rational reason that the taxpayers should be sustaining losses as owners of a very profitable golf facility.

You can verify the truth of the facts below, if you have the courage to ask the city to confirm or deny these statements.

The following facts are undisputed by the city:

  1. The TPC Scottsdale is one of the most profitable municipal golf courses in the U. S;
  2. The manager, PGA Tour, had estimated earnings of $5 million in 2012 and $7 million in 2013;
  3. Fair market rent to the City, as owner, is at least $3.5 million per year (two-thirds operating profits);
  4. Normally, the owner retains the operating profits of the business;
  5. The taxpayers have sustained losses of at least $50 million on this business arrangement;
  6. As owners, we taxpayers are expected to lose about $2 million per year over the life of the contract;
  7. The City does not deny these losses. The losses occur because the PGA is taking earnings that belong to the taxpayers;
  8. The City argues that they do not have a fiduciary obligation to the public, and that they can set lease terms for City assets, however they choose;
  9. The rent that the City receives is more than 70 percent below the average rent that other municipalities receive for this type of golf facility;
  10. The City claims to have received “media exposure” that has a market value adequate to offset these losses;
  11. This media exposure has a verified fair market price of zero dollars($0);
  12. Procuring goods and services above fair market value is procurement fraud according to the Arizona Auditor general.

I hope that you will correct your factual misstatements. Our City benefits from accurate news reporting, not advocacy, disguised as news.

Ask yourself why the city council is allowing this to continue, who is being paid off by whom?

Editor’s note: Mr. Stuart is a resident of Scottsdale and community advocate

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