Arizona, Prescott attempt to fix issues with $15 million rodeo payout as lawsuit looms
Arizona officials are working with Prescott and the city's rodeo to develop contracts that detail how the rodeo will use a $15 million budget appropriation as they face a lawsuit that claims the handout violates the state’s constitution.
The initial hope was to combine the state funding with private money for a $40 million improvement plan for the rodeo grounds.
But a lawsuit from two Prescott residents and a legal rights group alleges the payout to the nonprofit behind the annual event violates the “gift clause” in the Arizona Constitution, which requires all gifts to serve a public purpose and that the state must account for the gift’s direct benefit.
The money has been stuck in legal limbo for months as the lawsuit plays out in court.
The new collaboration could allow officials to address the lawsuit and finally get the money disbursed.
An attorney for the plaintiffs told The Arizona Republic that lawmakers are just trying to fix the problem after the fact.