Flaw in city's record keeping leads to confusion over big events - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Flaw in city's record keeping leads to confusion over big events billing

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When major public events happen in Memphis, organizers hire extra police officers to keep you safe. But the police department is having trouble getting some event organizers to pay up. When major public events happen in Memphis, organizers hire extra police officers to keep you safe. But the police department is having trouble getting some event organizers to pay up.
The WMC Action News 5 Investigators uncovered more than half a million dollars in unpaid tabs by some of the Bluff City's premiere event organizers. The WMC Action News 5 Investigators uncovered more than half a million dollars in unpaid tabs by some of the Bluff City's premiere event organizers.
MEMPHIS, TN -

[Update: Thursday, April 3, 2014, 6:27 p.m.]

A flaw in City of Memphis' record keeping made it seem that several notable local organizations did not pay their bills to the city. The issue was uncovered by the WMC Action News 5 Investigators.

The numbers provided to WMC Action News 5 Wednesday from City of Memphis' attorney turned out to be out of date. Those numbers accused several big organizations of not paying for extra police presence during events.

Now, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is taking full responsibility for the mistake.

Click here to read the full story about City of Memphis' mistake and why the organizations do not owe it money for the policing of their events:
http://www.wmctv.com/story/25158883/memphis-mayor-the-city-dropped-the-ball-on-record-keeping-regarding-events-policing

(WMC-TV) – As the Memphis Police Department faces an officer shortage and more cuts, the WMC Action News 5 Investigators uncovered more than half a million dollars in unpaid tabs by some of the Bluff City's premiere event organizers.

When major public events happen in Memphis, organizers hire extra police officers to keep you safe. But the police department is having trouble getting some event organizers to pay up.

WMC Action News 5's Kontji Anthony obtained a list of the top events with unpaid tabs. Topping the list is Memphis In May.

With just a few weeks to go before the city's top festival kicks off, the police department has not received nearly $156,000 owed for the 2013 festival.

Memphis In May organizers said it is hard to comment without seeing the detailed bill. They say they paid police $300,000 since 2000. They also point out the event's financial impact to the city in 2012 alone was $70 million.

Second on the list is the Southern Heritage Classic, a family-friendly weekend of entertainment and football.

The police department is owed about $97,000 dollars for four events that were held between 2004 and 2013. Kontji put in a call to SMC Entertainment and is awaiting comment.

Third on the list is Performa Entertainment, the company that managed Beale Street operations.

City records show Performa owes more than $87,000 in police security for nine events that took place in 2008, but Performa says the city waived those bills in a settlement that turned over Beale Street operations to City of Memphis.

Dement Construction owes the city more than $60,000 for police presence on five construction projects that were done along the city's major highways. The construction company had no comment on the debt.

An unpaid bill for the 2012 St. Jude Marathon rounds out the top five list. City records show the marathon owes close to $54,000 to have police along the marathon route. 

A St. Jude spokesperson said the organization has not been asked to pay anything at this time.

The payment is actually under review, because some costs could be waived due to the positive economic impact these events have on the city. The St. Jude Memphis Marathon alone has a $20 million plus annual economic impact.

St. Jude, Memphis in May, and Southern Heritage Classic, are marked as "pending waiver review."

According to City of Memphis, anyone who could comment on why the money was not collected was tied up Wednesday.

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