Michael Monti: Mark Mitchell’s Pet Project Would Waste Millions of Taxpayer Dollars

Michael Monti says taxpayers would be left holding the bag for Mark Mitchell’s boondoggle

(Tempe, Arizona) Mark Mitchell has recently been touting his ‘plan’ for a Tempe Conference Center, but he has failed to say who will pay for it. That’s because it’s the Tempe taxpayers who would be on the hook for millions.

Businessman and candidate for Tempe Mayor Michael Monti points out that Mitchell has done little to outline specifics of his conference center plans and has been unable for over a decade to get ASU on board, “Any plan must include ASU, the leading State agency in Tempe, which could contribute a significant amount to such a project merely by agreeing to book all of its guests into such a hotel and conference facility. Mark Mitchell has been on the Tempe Council for 12 years, has talked about a Tempe Conference Center his entire 12 years, and has never been able to get ASU to the table in such a proposal.”

Michael Monti has delivered detailed proposals and even held community forums for a plan to bring a public swimming beach to the Tempe Town Lake, without taxpayer funding. Meanwhile the centerpiece for the Mitchell campaign, his proposed hotel/conference center, is scarce on details. What we do know is that such projects, like those in Phoenix, can cost taxpayers dearly. The Phoenix Convention Center? $600 Million. But where will the funds for a Tempe version come from at a time of budget cuts and tax increases?

In addition, the Valley has a number of conference centers. If Tempe were to build one, it would be competing regionally in an already saturated market.

Monti is well aware that he might derive a financial benefit from a downtown Tempe Conference Center, but he still feels the idea is out-of-step and misplaced, “As a Mill Avenue business owner I realize such a project may be good for my business, but I think it would be a bad idea for the city. Secondly, I think it’s time we start looking to south Tempe for civic projects. The Mill Avenue corridor is blessed with a host of amenities. It’s time south Tempe had a bigger say in these decisions.”

Monti is calling for Mitchell to lay out a detailed budget of this project as well a plan to make certain taxpayers won’t be left with the bill.

Monti said, “I am all for bringing more tourists to Tempe. My personal livelihood depends on it. But I am not willing to soak the taxpayers for such a project. The Tempe city budget cannot survive a spending spree by Mark Mitchell merely to satisfy an insatiable need to spend taxpayer money. If built with public money, this project would only serve as another monument to a politician. We should learn from missteps made by other communities (City North in Phoenix) with regard to developer incentives and taxpayer subsidies. If the private sector could cover the entire cost, that would be great. If not, then we need to take a pass on this given the fragile state of our city budget.”

Michael Monti, owner of Tempe’s historic Monti’s La Casa Vieja, co-founded Local First, Arizona. He is also active in the Tempe Diablos Charities, and is the youngest inductee in the Arizona Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame.

To make a campaign donation on line click here here or mail a check to

P.O. Box 24476
Tempe, AZ 85285

His campaign is based on bringing private sector ideas to government, fiscal responsibility, civic involvement, economic opportunity, and innovation. His proposals include:

Financial incentives for city workers who save tax dollars
The creation of the Tempe Community Corps to increase volunteerism, and aid Tempe neighborhoods
Partnerships with ASU and the business community to bring more jobs to Tempe
The creation of a public swimming beach at Tempe Town Lake, paid for by the private sector
Partnerships with the ASU College of Nursing to aid Tempe seniors
Encouraging businesses to embrace eco-friendly projects such as the Blink Car Charging Stations at Monti’s La Casa Vieja
A ban on texting while driving in Tempe
A gift ban and stricter reporting requirements for Tempe elected officials
An eight year term limit for the mayor’s office

Arizona leaders and organizations that have endorsed Michael Monti include:

Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman
Tempe Council Member Onnie Shekerjian
Tempe Democrat and Former Council Member Barbara Sherman
Tempe’s first elected Mayor, Rudy Campbell
The Tempe Chamber of Commerce
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery
Congressman David Schweikert
Former Tempe City Council Member ‘Hut’ Hutson
Former State Rep. Laura Knaperek Tempe Democrat Carl Hayden
Former Tempe Councilman Joseph Lewis
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane
Barry Goldwater Jr.
Former State Senator and Tempe Councilwoman Bev Hermon
Former Tempe Council Candidate Angie Taylor Thornton

To visit the Monti4 Mayor Website click here or log on to www.monti4mayor.com (@monti4mayor).



  1. Lisa Henderson says

    I started looking into Mr. Monti and I have to say I don’t like what I’ve found. This guy is in favor of a guest worker program without securing the border. I don’t believe that’s in line with the ideals of the Republican party.


Leave a Reply