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SCOTTSDALE, AZ-The fate of a $37-million, taxpayer-funded subsidy, marked for the redevelopment of the Los Arcos Mall, could be in the hands of the voters if a lawsuit succeeds in forcing the issue to the polls.

A group of Scottsdale citizens filed suit Friday in Maricopa Superior Court to override a Scottsdale City Council decision granting the subsidy to developer Steve Ellman to turn the long-vacant shopping mall into a big box retail center.

STOP ‘EM, a group that collected petitions to force the issue to the ballot box, claims the council’s vote was an illegal zoning action and asks for voter approval of the subsidy. City attorney David Pennartz claims the council’s vote was an administrative decision that should not be referred to the voters.

The suit was the second filed against the city since the council’s July 2 vote. Last month, three Scottsdale residents filed a suit against the city that claimed the subsidy was an “unlawful gift” that violates the state’s constitution.

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