The people behind the movement to build a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium in Nashville have apparently started a public relations campaign to let the city know they’re moving forward.
But a Nashville-based attorney who has fought the stadium said Wednesday that “it’s still a terrible deal for Nashville.” Jim Roberts told The Tennessee Star that this MLS team might not choose to stay in the city.
The people behind the website Buildthestadium.com mass emailed supporters Wednesday. They said, among other things, the team will pay for infrastructure in the stadium’s immediate vicinity at a cost of $19 million. They said they will relieve the Nashville Metro Government of its obligation to pay up to $35 million toward lease payments.
“And we told you we were glad the Mayor said yes. Since then, we’ve moved forward. We held meetings in the neighborhood. We listened. The site has been demoed,” members of the group wrote.
“Even though everyone’s world has changed, we know that we have to prepare for the future and better times. So, we’re ready to start construction. We wanted you to know that we hadn’t forgotten about you. You’ll hear from us more regularly.”
But Roberts said there’s more that the public doesn’t know.
“I’m not saying these things aren’t true, but it’s still a terrible deal for Nashville. They didn’t pay for the demolition. No one can really account for that infrastructure that they’ve spent. We’ve spent the money. The development statement of general principles is worth about — well — if you run out of toilet paper then if might be worth something,” Roberts said.
“The real question is what control does Nashville Soccer Holdings have over keeping the team in Nashville? The answer is zero. That’s the dirty secret, and no one wants to talk about it. They will get a 99-year lease, and, in return, we get nothing. There is no guarantee the team will stay one year or one month. Where the team plays is governed by the MLS Board of Governors.”
As reported last month, a Chancery Court judge ruled that Metro Nashville’s contract to build the MLS stadium on The Fairgrounds Nashville is invalid because the meeting approving it violated the Tennessee Open Meetings Act.
The Sports Authority gave only 48 hours’ notice before holding a special meeting to sign off on the $192 million contract with M.A. Mortenson Co./Messer Construction Co. on November 1, 2018. The authority must reschedule a meeting, provide adequate public notice and conduct another vote, Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle said.
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