http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0902wvfinance02.html

Carwash owners fund drive vs. competitor

Marty Sauerzopf
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 2, 2004 12:00 AM

GOODYEAR - The owners of an Avondale carwash have pumped $20,000 into an effort to block a competing carwash in nearby Goodyear, according to campaign-finance reports filed last week.

Howard Hintz, a consultant for Full Circle Autowash, provided an additional $6,000 for the campaign between June and mid-August, mainly to cover legal bills, the reports show.

Earlier disclosure statements showed he had already pumped $14,000 into the effort.

Hintz is the financial muscle behind two residents' lawsuit challenging the City Council's January approval of the proposed Superstar Car Wash on Dysart Road, north of Van Buren Street.

Full Circle operates a car wash at Dysart and McDowell roads.

The finance reports show that Hintz, through a political committee called Help the Goodyear Citizens, paid $5,840 in June and July to the Irvine Law Firm.

Attorney Tom Irvine is representing the residents listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Hintz had previously paid Irvine $7,874 for legal services, according to earlier finance reports, bringing Hintz's legal tab for the campaign to $13,714.

Some city officials have blasted Hintz's involvement in the Superstar Car Wash issue, saying Full Circle is wasting Goodyear tax dollars in an effort to stifle competition. Hintz has repeatedly refused to comment.

With Hintz's backing, residents Esther Shamberger and Mary Salais collected petition signatures in March in hopes of forcing a public vote challenging the Superstar Car Wash approval. The city, however, rejected the petitions, saying the council's decision to issue a permit for the business was not subject to a referendum.

The residents then filed their lawsuit, again fully backed by Hintz.

The case is scheduled for a Sept. 13 hearing before Judge Thomas Dunevant in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Meanwhile, backers of a series of bond issues on the Sept. 7 ballot have spent more than $6,700 in support of the measures, according to the finance reports.

Voters will be asked to approve six bond proposals totaling about $134 million, including $10 million for a proposed spring training baseball complex.

A group known as Citizens for a Vibrant Goodyear received more than $11,000 in campaign contributions, mainly from Estrella Mountain Ranch developer Sun MP and City Center area landowner Wood Family Enterprises.

Reach the reporter at marty.sauerzopf@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-6920.


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