City Attorney says plan to use funds to renovate mall is illegal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City Attorney says plan to use funds to renovate mall is illegal

Grant says the city has given millions to other businesses. Grant says the city has given millions to other businesses.
The city attorney says it's illegal to renovate Southbrook mall using city money. The city attorney says it's illegal to renovate Southbrook mall using city money.

(WMC-TV) – A legal opinion by the Memphis city attorney says it would be illegal to renovate Southbrook mall using city money under the current agreement.

Greg Grant, the lobbyist and consultant for the Southbrook Mall renovation project, calls the action racist.

"They're trying to attack me and tie the merits of the mall on me personally," said Greg Grant.

Recently, the Memphis City Council approved spending $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars to renovate the mall.

The legal opinion says the city cannot use public funds "for a private benefit" without a public referendum.

Grant says the city has given millions to other businesses.

"Is it because the face of the mall is black that people have a problem with it?" asked Grant. "Like you gave to Bass Pro Shops or Electrolux, Lick Creek, Overton Square, FedEx Forum," he added.

Grant says suggestions in recent City Council meetings that hint he would profit from the mall renovation are unfounded.

"I was never an owner and I'm not an owner today," Grant said.

Grant says he is the registered agent for the mall because he signed the paperwork as the mall consultant.

The 200,000 square foot mall is only 20% occupied. Grant says the funding would be used to fix the roof, climate control system, ceiling replacement, electrical and floors.

Elias Savage shops at Southbrook and hopes the project will move beyond politics.

"Let the people of this neighborhood see the city is trying to so something down here," said Savage.

The council may consider studying alternatives to the plan.

Action News 5 contacted the city for comment, but have yet to hear from them.

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