Judge bursts balloon company's lease deal

Pima County’s $15 million lease deal with the space balloon company World View was recently ruled invalid by Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods.

Pima County’s $15 million lease deal with the space balloon company World View was recently ruled invalid by Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods.

 

The Goldwater Institute, a conservative public policy think tank, had argued that the agreement violated state law regarding rental rates, appraisals and auctions, and asked the county to rule against it. The judge agreed with the institute. 

 

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said he will urge the Pima County Board of Supervisors to appeal, which would hold off action on the ruling.

 

 “Our view is that until a court of record rules, which is the appeals court, the issue is open,” he said, adding that the county “followed the law” with the World View deal.

 

The lawsuit contains four counts, including the one Woods ruled on. The others are two counts pertaining to competitive bidding for facility construction and procurement requirements, and one count arguing that the county violated the state constitution’s gift clause.

 

The lead attorney for Goldwater, Jim Manley, said the decision was a win for taxpayers. He said the county could renegotiate with World View as long as it complied with the law.

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