B y J i m W r i g h t
FRESH FROM HIS efforts to derail the downtown federal courthouse project, legendary land speculator Don Diamond is now working to kill the proposed downtown location for the UA's new campus and ensure the school is located southeast of Tucson, near his fledgling Rocking K development, says Tucson Mayor George Miller.
"I'm so angry with him (Diamond) I could kick his ass from here to Casa Grande," grumbled Miller, waving his arms wildly.
For the last several months, UA officials have been putting together plans for a new four-year college scheduled to open up in fall 1996. Currently, they are considering locating the campus either downtown, on Congress Street west of I-10, or southeast of town, at the old IBM corporate park, which currently houses the New Campus offices.
Miller says he bumped into Diamond at a restaurant shortly after The Weekly broke the story about Diamond's efforts to kill the courthouse project so he wouldn't lose the million-plus dollars he receives annually from offices federal officials rent from him.
During their conversation, Miller says Diamond told him, "I don't want the campus downtown. I want it at IBM."
"You know why he wants (the new campus) at IBM (on the city's far southeast side)?" asks Miller. "Rocking K! He wants it at IBM so it can be close to Rocking K."
If the campus were located near Rocking K, it would be one more incentive to begin developing the property, which Diamond is reportedly eager to do.
Miller says Diamond's lobbying of university officials should be taken seriously--the pressure is enough for some of them to be concerned about their jobs.
Miller also reports that the federal courthouse project is back on track.
"I had a meeting right here," he says. "I made sure that (the GSA) understood that the business community and the mayor and council not only wanted the courthouse but we also wanted it downtown."
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