The deal between near-space company World View and Pima County has sparked legal action.
The News 4 Tucson Investigators have learned htat Pima County’s loan of $15 million to World View Enterprises, a space tourism company, has sparked a lawsuit.
The defendants: Pima County, its entire Board of Supervisors, and County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.
Jim Manley, Senior Attorney with the conservative think-tank Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, told us he’s filing the suit tomorrow on behalf of three Pima County residents. “We’re asking the court to put a stop to the World View deal and all of the deals that come out of it.”
Manley calls the World View deal “illegal” for, among other things, violating Arizona’s Gift Clause. He says, “What the Gift Clause requires is that money be spent for a public purpose, and that the government receive fair compensation in return.” The lawsuit will also state the deal violates competitive bidding laws, because, Manley says, it was negotiated in secret, with no public bidding.
Construction on “Spaceport Tucson” is continuing on 30 acres near the airport, with completion targeted by November. The county says say having space tourism here will be a giant leap for the economy. Customers would travel 100,000 feet above earth in a high-tech balloon, at a cost per trip of $75,000. Manley says, “It’s not even as if the county is spending money on an amenity that the whole community can enjoy. This is a toy for the super-rich.”