Arizona Board of Regents Chair Larry E. Penley statement on Arizona Court of Appeals ruling
April 21, 2021
“The board appreciates this ruling of the Arizona Court of Appeals, which rejects the state Attorney General’s original claims of “ABOR-approved tax evasion.” As the court recognized, there are no taxes to evade because ABOR property is tax exempt. The parcel at issue – the Omni Hotel – will provide the Arizona State University community access to a much-needed conference center and hotel facility, and will generate well over $100 million in rental payments to the university as well as provide additional positive economic impact to the City of Tempe and the state of Arizona.
"These benefits flowing to the university community from the Omni project refute any suggestion that the transaction violated Arizona’s gift clause, as the Attorney General also claimed. With the court’s ruling, Arizona’s taxpayers have been spared the costs of years of further litigation because, as the court held, the Attorney General waited too long to challenge a transaction that had been publicly discussed for years before he filed his lawsuit.
"Under the board’s purview, strategic development of university property provides a smart and entrepreneurial opportunity to help fund university operations and provide needed capital assets all while generating jobs and economic activity.
"With this ruling, the board is hopeful that this matter can finally be resolved.”