Butch Spyridon, the CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp makes a great deal of money in annual salary every year, even more so than his counterparts in other large cities.
As Tennessee Watchdog reported, Spyridon has used taxpayer-funded resources — even money meant for the 2010 flood relief — to assist the Convention and Visitors Corp and his career.
In the past five years, Spyridon got his salary doubled to $792,000, the Tennessean reported.
He now makes more than what his peers in Orlando, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New Orleans make, according to the paper.
“Spyridon’s pay exceeds that of CEOs with larger budgets and in cities with higher costs of living, including those in San Francisco and Los Angeles,” the paper reported.
“Among his perks are paid memberships to social and health clubs.”
Former Nashville Metro Council member Emily Evans told the paper Spyridon makes more than the police chief, fire chief and the head of the public health department.
The paper credited Spyridon with recruiting the Titans to Tennessee and, among other things, spearheading the city’s Fourth of July celebrations.
“The Music City Center and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. are funded largely by hotel room taxes. The visitors group receives 87 percent of its revenue from Metro hotel taxes, but officials there say Spyridon’s salary comes out of membership dues and other private sources only,” the paper said.
As Tennessee Watchdog reported five years ago, Spyridon oversaw production of a one-hour documentary titled “For the Love of Music: The Story of Nashville,” that cost $300,000 and aired on a Saturday afternoon on ABC.
The money came from a federal Economic Development Administration grant — money originally intended for disaster relief from the 2010 flood.
EDA spokeswoman Angela Martinez said at the time it’s not at all unusual for communities to use federal disaster relief money for tourism development, regardless of how long ago that disaster happened.
The documentary attracted 523,000 viewers, according to official Nielsen ratings.
In sharp contrast, NFL football programming on CBS and FOX that afternoon had between 13 million to 20 million viewers, respectively.
ABC even lost out ratings wise to a Grand Prix Figure Skating competition on NBC, with 850,000 viewers, at least for the documentary’s first 30 minutes.
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