Cash still needed for FedExForum - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cash still needed for FedExForum

It's a shining symbol of success. FedEX Forum came in on time and on budget.

"It should be a big celebration--but for some reason it's still viewed as not meeting expectations," says Charles Carpenter, acting executive director of The New Arena Public Building Authority.

It's those doubts that may keep the project from being put to bed. The authority which oversaw the new arena's construction needs $1.4 million to close it out. The final cash would come from a wind-storm damage fund.

"It requires no new taxpayer dollars," says Carpenter.

The PBA basically would use the money to slam dunk debt. They could settle lawsuits and pay sub-contractors who have yet to get paid. The problem is that freeing up the funds takes city and county approval.

"And it's only fair to the people we represent to ask the questions and obtain answers before we release the last of the money," says Shelby County Commissioner Bruce Thompson.

Still unanswered questions involve everything from labor disputes to the number of completed parking spaces.

"I think the ball's in their court with respect to providing answers to questions that have already been asked," says Thompson.

Carpenter contends that questions have already been answered and going into "overtime" on this issue could make tax-payers losers in the long run.

"If they don't release the funds, I think we'll have a rash of lawsuits," says Carpenter.

Those lawsuits could be filed by those contractors who want their money. The PBA meets with city and county leaders later this month. We'll let you know how this "game" plays out.

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