An Arizona state budget item giving $15.3 million to a rodeo in Prescott has spurred a lawsuit by two city residents and a legal rights group who claim the Arizona Constitution bans such spending.
Howard Mechanic and retired Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Ralph Hess filed the lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court last week with help from the nonpartisan legal advocacy group Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, The Arizona Republic reported.
Lawyers for Attorney General Kris Mayes and Treasurer Kimberly Yee in court Tuesday agreed to halt the spending until the lawsuit’s resolution.
A state plan to fund $15.3 million for an Arizona rodeo has spurred a lawsuit by two city residents and a legal rights group.
Nguyen declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Danny Adelman, executive director of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, told The Arizona Republic earlier this month that the center saw the rodeo payment as potentially problematic.
Nguyen said he believes that enhancing the long-running rodeo — billed as the “world’s oldest” — would boost tax revenue and tourism in the northern Arizona city.
Ron Owsley, president of the nonprofit that operates the rodeo, has said the money would go to renovations that would bring a return to the state’s investment. He confirmed, however, that no written contracts or promises of benefits were linked to receiving the money.