McGuire requests Senate Finance re-appropriate tennis-court money

In a rather gutsy move, Anchorage Sen. Lesil McGuire has officially entered into the controversial tennis court debate by requesting that the Senate Finance Committee, which drafts the capital budget, re-appropriate the $7 million dollars to be used for courts. She wants that money to go to the Anchorage Loussac Library instead.

The tennis court project has been pushed by Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan. Both he and McGuire are running to be the GOP nominees for lieutenant governor. It’s unclear who, or if, any of the senators on the committee will offer the amendment. Protocol would dictate that either Anchorage Sens. Hollis French, Anna Fairclough, or Kevin Meyer do so.

One thing is clear: it puts the project back into the public glare. Also, McGuire is chair of the Senate Rules Committee, which wields a tremendous amount of power.

The tennis issue has “drawn a great deal of criticism, divided the Anchorage Assembly and served to drive a wedge into our community,” McGuire wrote in a memo to the committee. She also blamed the controversy on failure of the public to vote on an April 1 library improvement bond measure.

The $7 million is part of a $37 million appropriation that was intended to be used on “critical and deferred maintenance” on buildings built in the 1980s. Sullivan has pushed to have the $7 million go to a new tennis court, to be built in the Turnagain neighborhood, where he lives.

McGuire said that the money is “necessary to protect the State’s original investment in this facility.”

Read the full memo here.

Contact Amanda Coyne at


23 thoughts on “McGuire requests Senate Finance re-appropriate tennis-court money

  1. Mayor Dan

    Anonymous was from me, Mayor Dan. Normally when I reply it automatically has my tag. I always identify my comments.

  2. Wiley Cason

    Setting aside my own opinion on the tennis courts, I’d like to applaud ‘Mayor Dan’ for being willing to step into the trenches and converse, both informally and publicly, with the readers of a page like this. It makes me much more willing to give an elected official the benefit of the doubt when they don’t go out of their way to avoid speaking for themselves. I wish our Governor would take a page out of the Mayor’s book and maybe do a debate sometime before November.

  3. Milton Friedman

    Please do explain what “need” the people of the city ofAnchorage have not received because of Mayor Sullivan’s policies. It seems to me that your hatred is getting in the way of your intellect. This was state appropriated money that they specified for the tennis court project. The city received it and the mayor advocated for it because of what a group of constituents wanted and had been working very hard to get. The assembly approved it. It is really simple; either use the funds for what the state said or return the money. Now Lesil is bringing this up all over again and wasting time and resources for nothing other than political points as she runs for higher office. This is slimy. The fact that many of you are alright with it is insulting. I doubt Lesil would care about any similar amount of money being spent anywhere else in the state. Anchorage voters will see through her and she will be out of a job soon enough.

  4. akmom

    Well, I will say that you selected an appropriate screen name. She didn’t alienate me as a voter. I thought it was timely to bring up the issue of the tennis courts. Self serving? Sure. It doesn’t mean that Mayor Dan didn’t leave himself open for it though.

  5. Claire

    The hilarious thing about this is that Sen. McGuire has the wrong amount (not $7M), she doesn’t have support from her colleagues (just from the ones who don’t like the tennis supporting mayor) and that the MOA priorities (Assembly Approved) listed the Loussac Library as Mayor Dan Sullivan’s #1 priority, asking Juneau for $10M. See for yourself, you can find both 2013 and 2014 Juneau Priorities list the Loussac Library but not tennis. Hmmm?

  6. RudeAlaskan

    Senator Lesil is an selfish, corrupt, addicted and unhealthy person! She’s getting political about an issue that really has nothing to do with a mayor or opponent. SHAME on her for punishing the people of Anchorage….for her political gain. This WILL backfire. The tennis association, and all non-profits who work hard to get money from Juneau will notice this poor judgement. She’s ruining herself. Her colleagues in Juneau….will notice. Her voters that she’s alienating as she tries to cozy up with the unions for money….WILL NOTICE. Lesil’s heart for Alaska is as fake as her nose job and collagen filled lips…bought and paid for.
    PS Amanda, end your love affair. She’s only bringing you down.

  7. Blackstone

    You clearly lack the ability do distinguish between “needs” and “wants”, particularly it seems if the issue at hand is is something to which you have some personal interest.

    The fact that the Alaska Tennis Association requested the indoor courts is meaningless. Any special interest group can request anything that benefits them personally. Their request, however, does not make this an essential or justifiable use of public funds. I don’t think you support the requests of every special interest group that happens to cross your desk, do you?

    This “need” is hardly “essential”. So, the Alaska Club North is being sold. So what? Indoor tennis courts hardly qualifiy as a “need”. It might be useful for you to review the definition of “need” and “essential”. Apparently you have led a very privileged life in which indoor tennis courts are a “need”. For most human beings indoor tennis courts would be considered a very low priority luxury.

    How about the needs of a much larger population to access the public library? How about the needs of a much larger population to attend adequately-funded public schools?

    To quote Ann Richards it appears that you were born with a silver foot in your mouth. You appear incapable of actually understanding the “needs” of most of the citizens of Anchorage because of your own privileged life. The thought that you could ever hope to understand or work on behalf of Alaskans in rural Alaska as Lieutenant Governor is laughable.

    In rural Alaska there are many communities where even basic sewer and water remain unmet “needs”. Your adamant support for Indoor tennis courts must leave these voters entirely baffled. I suspect they will remain baffled through the primary – but likely not sufficiently baffled to cast a vote for you to be the nominee for Lieutenant Governor.

  8. Janice

    Love the comments. I see the mayor commented earlier today. Then, I see that later there is anothe post this one anonymous supposedly yet it says “I’ll match my record….” Weird. Maybe it was a busy day at McGinnley’s?

  9. Anonymous

    Bad decisions? Like restoring the fiscal health of the city, five straight years of budget surpluses, a new AAA bond rating, investing more in our deferred maintenance than at any time in Anchorage history, reducing crime, reining in unreasonable union contracts etc. – I’ll match my record with any previous administration.

  10. Margie

    I started out supporting Mayor Sullivan over Sen, McGuire. You can flip that equation now. The mayor has been on a down hill slide with bad decision after bad decision. McGuire on the other hand has shown herself as a statesman and a leader. She is articulate too. Sullivan needs to apologize for his shennanigans and support McGuire’s proposal.

  11. Jay

    I see that Mayor Sullivan has commented on this story. Sounded to me like he was talking out of both sides of his mouth and NOT accepting responsibility. I would challenge the Mayor to come out and support the reappropriation request. He won’t because he knows he wants the tennis court for himself. To me, he is the worst kind of self serving politician.

  12. Mayor Dan

    The indoor public courts were requested by the Alaska Tennis Association so that all kids could have an opportunity to play the lifetime sport of tennis without having to be rich enough to afford the Alaska Club. All the high schools will use the facility for their regular season and regional tournament, as well as teams from around the state for the state competitions. The need became essential with the pending sale of the Alaska Club North, which has 5 of the 9 private indoor courts in town.

    The first location considered was in south Anchorage (in Lesil’s district) but because of poor soils the current site was proposed. It does not matter to me where the location is, because I will continue to be a member of the Alaska Club, as I have been for nearly thirty years, because there is a wider variety of exercise options and amenities.

    As for investing in our public facilities before building new ones, my administration has invested over $650 million in our parks, trails, public facilities, etc., over the past five years, the largest amount ever invested in our public infrastructure in Anchorage history.

  13. Karen

    It would be nice to have brand new indoor tennis courts in every neighborhood in town – – even in the neighborhoods that the Mayor doesn’t live ! It would also be nice if all the buiildings erected with Project 80’s monies were well maintained. The truth is thay aren’t. We need to take better care of our existing facilities before we erect new ones. Especially when the new ones seem to be primarily for the Mayor’s personal use and was funded in a less than transparent manner. From my perspective, the only more troubling display of waste and non-transparency was the Anchorage LIO building’s outrageous and non-defensible lease. Yes, please reappropriate the tennis court money. Also, please do something to get out of the ridiculous LIO building lease. These two issues are shameful.

  14. 357

    I have never thought much of McGuire as a public official; however, compared to Dan , I’d say she was heads and toes smarter than him. Now, I’ll also give her points for being strong enoigh to stand up to him. Politically, it may have been better for someone else to take the lead on this reapproriation, however, it is clearly the right thing to do.
    Taking this step further, let’s all remember this come August and let’s put an end to Mayor $ullivan’s political career
    The entire $ullivan family have lived at the public troigh too long.

  15. Bobby J.

    The first news of the morning is good news! Redistributing the infamous tennis court money is the best move the legislature could make. It would be a statement that would support transparency in government and a slap to someone trying to utilize public money for their own personal enjoyment. Will be watching this one unfold. Sen. McGuire deserves a then you from all of us in the MOA.

  16. WTF

    Sen. Lesil McGuire is correct to ask foir a reapproipriation. Mayor Sullivan’s actions and statements surrrounding the tennis court issue(s) are misgided , deceitful and arrogant. Claerly, thiis priority is for his personal priority and personal use. The mayor has become iincreasingly arrogant in the manner he attempts to wield power and spreading discontent. There is no justification for this project and to suggest it is maitenance is a pathetic facade of the truth. I hope that the rest of the senate and house will get behind McGuire and do the right thing and deappropriiate this money. That would be the kind of stewardship and leadership that Alaska needs and would be a fitting response to this unethical travesty purported by Mayor Sullivan.

  17. Lynn Willis

    Only in the minds of the current generation of Alaska politicians could money appropriated for “critical and deferred maintenance” be allowed for new construction of any kind without a demand for explanation and threat of possible criminal prosecution . I was told by the Mayor on a talk show that the original idea was to build an addition to an existing structure which would have included these tennis courts because this was, in the Mayor’s judgment, building maintenance. The “hitch” was the Fire Marshal who wouldn’t allow the new construction as an addition because of vehicle access concerns so the Marshall demanded a stand alone structure. So, to the Mayor, adding another wall was just more “critical and deferred maintenance”.
    That kind of misappropriation should have attracted the attention of the Attorney General; however, I wouldn’t expect that kind of objectivity from Parnell’s current consigliere when so many members of his party (including the brand new member) were involved in this scam.
    Regardless of motive, Senator McGuire deserves support for this gesture. I would ask French, Fairclough and Meyer to now issue press releases documenting their level of support.
    The money should go to maintain the Loussac as intended. We are now in deficit spending and this kind of shenanigans needs to end yesterday.

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