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Judge: Pima County's lease deal with World View space company unlawful

Judge: Pima County's lease deal with World View space company unlawful

  • Updated

A Pima County Superior Court judge has ruled against a Pima County deal with the space balloon company World View.

In an Oct. 17 motion for summary judgment, the conservative Goldwater Institute asked that county’s lease with World View should be “declared unlawful” for violating state law regarding appraisals, auctions and rental rates.

In her decision Thursday, Judge Catherine Woods granted that summary judgment, voiding the county's agreement with the space balloon company. The facility the county built for World View near the Tucson International Airport has been completed.

“Judge Woods’ ruling protects Pima County taxpayers from having to foot the bill for World View’s untested business model,” said Jim Manley, senior attorney at the Goldwater Institute. “Instead of relying on a sweetheart deal from taxpayers, World View will need to pay market rates to lease its building, just like every other business in Pima County.”

“The county is free to renegotiate the lease,” said Manley, “but only after they appraise the building, hold a public auction, and lease the building to the highest bidder. All of that will protect taxpayers from illegally subsidizing a private business.”

County officials are reviewing the judge's ruling and are not commenting, according to an email from Mark B. Evans, a county spokesman.

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