Shelby County commission committee wraps up FedExForum deal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County commission committee wraps up FedExForum deal

County Commissioners wrapped up the final dollars of the $250 million FedExForum project Wednesday. They considered an additional 1.4 million dollars to go to Mortensen that should close the deal.

But first, they received some good financial news from Lisa Daniels of Public Financial Management.  Daniels told commissioners that revenue from the hotel/motel tax, and entertainment district tax, seat rental fees, and MLGW pilot payments were at or ahead of projections.

Commissioner Walter Bailey wanted more. He asked for information from the Grizzlies on attendance and other financial figures, something the NBA team has so far not been willing to share.

"They are a private business in a joint venture with the taxpayers," Bailey said "and the taxpayers have a right to know."

And there are other concerns about current and future lawsuits. Money considered Wednesday could cover a lawsuit by Smith Masonry for $400,000. But commissioners wondered about a claim by mechanical contractor Morgan Thornburg for 5.4 million dollars.

"If we're letting all the money go in this resolution where's the money going to come from to pay that amount in the end?" Bailey asked.

Commissioner John Willingham agreed. Despite his past criticism of the project, he seemed more optimistic Wednesday after the positive financial report.

"I'm proud of what we have," Willingham said. "I'm proud that we have the Grizzlies. All we have to do now is have peace in the valley. Get everyone pushing the same boat the same direction so that this year maybe we we'll win a game in the playoffs."

Commissioners voted to send the matter of the final $1.4 million to the full commission.

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