Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Editorial ~ A Calculated Investment

HSL's Deal With Oro Valley A Sweet One Indeed
According to Campaign Finance Reports from 2014-2016, Mr. and Ms. Humberto Lopez and Mr. Omar Mireles of HSL Properties have given over $80,000 in campaign contributions to Mayor Hiremath and Councilmembers Hornat, Snider, Waters, Pina, Rodman, and Solomon. That’s correct. HSL spent $80,000 to ensure that the Majority-4 would be elected, survive their recall, and also add three more members to the "cohesive unit" of the “Developers’ Council” in 2016. Why would HSL Properties find it so important to get a Majority-7 elected?

Since the town purchased the property, the El Conquistador resort has been able to provide the amenity of golf to its clients at no cost to the resort. Oro Valley is now paying for all the maintenance required to provide golf and tennis to the hotel guests of the El Conquistador "Resort.” We all know how much this is costing Oro Valley taxpayers who are subsidizing this deal ($2.4 million in losses in FY 2015/16). Meanwhile, it’s costing the owners of the resort (HSL) nothing.

The Art of the Deal
The purchase agreement between the Town and HSL stipulates that should the Town no longer desire to remain in the golf business, the resort owner has the option to lease the Canada course from the Town for $10,000 a year for 50 years. If the majority of Council voted to make that decision, HSL would now have a real dilemma.

Why? Because it’s a requirement of the Hilton Hotels chain that in order to retain the "resort" moniker, the hotel must supply 18 holes of golf for its guests. Therefore, HSL would either have to maintain the 18-hole Canada course or relinquish their "resort" status. For HSL to maintain 18 holes of golf, it would cost them at least $700,000 per year...much more than the $80,000 HSL Properties spent to ensure that the Oro Valley Town Council continues to provide golf for them.

HSL Reaps Dividends
That's why the $80,000 investment to get the current council elected was a real deal for Humberto Lopez and HSL Properties. HSL turned an initial $80,000 investment into a $700,000 a year dividend.

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