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Phoenix Council member flips vote to ‘yes’ for arena renovations, nine days later Suns owner sends nearly $3 million her way

A heartwarming story of hoops and community service if there ever was one.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Your Phoenix Suns, who are putting the finishing touches on their ninth consecutive season without a playoff appearance, very nearly missed out on swallowing up $150 million in taxpayer money for renovations to Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Thankfully, Suns owner Robert Sarver and Phoenix City Councilwoman Vania Guevara won’t allow that to happen.

It was close, but Guevara, after much soul-searching I’m sure, flipped from a “no” to a “yes” to get the deal done. And here’s the deal for the fortunate residents of Phoenix:

  • City of Phoenix pays $150 million for arena renovations.
  • Team will pay $80 million for renovations and any cost overruns.
  • After the renovation is complete, the city will pay $2 million annually for 12 ½ towards a new renewal and replacement fund that will go to future renovation needs.
  • Suns pay $1 million into the new fund for 12 ½ years.
  • Suns will operate and maintain the building, this includes booking concerts and other events.
  • Suns pay rent to the city (calculated as a percentage of annual proceeds).
  • Suns build a new practice facility (estimated to cost $25 million to $50 million) in Phoenix.
  • Suns will be downtown through 2037. They’ll then have an option to extend the lease to 2042. Should the team leaves before 2037, it will face up to a $200 million fine.

You know $150 million for a team that will go five straight years winning fewer than 25 games isn’t bad.

But just when you thought you couldn’t handle anymore good news, the benevolent Mr. Sarver just happened to find the goodwill in his heart to send a boatload of cash Ms. Guevara’s direction.

Brahm Resnik of NBC 12 News:

“Nine days after the Phoenix City Council approved a controversial deal to renovate the Phoenix Suns home arena, Suns owner Robert Sarver donated $50,000 to a campaign PAC supporting a councilwoman who cast a crucial vote.

That donation to Councilwoman Vania Guevara last month came after she flipped her “no” vote to a “yes,” with Sarver’s pledge to spend $2.6 million on Head Start programs in her district.

Sarver followed up his donation to Guevara with a $100,000 contribution to a firefighter PAC backing the mayoral campaign of Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, also a supporter of the arena deal.”

Wow. There are still good people left in this world. My heart is warmed.

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