Report: Memphis officials aware garage not meant for Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Memphis officials were aware the FedEx Forum parking garage was meant to be a not-for-profit facility to help reduce downtown congestion.

The garage has operated as a profit-making facility for the Memphis Grizzlies NBA franchise but was supposed to be a place where people could park and hop on a city bus to ease downtown traffic.

An audit earlier this month by the Tennessee Department of Transportation found the city and the New Memphis Arena Public Building Authority changed garage plans to qualify for $20 million in federal grant money given to projects designed to help reduce congestion.

A review of building authority records by The Commercial Appeal newspaper shows officials were aware of the not-for-profit requirement.

Building authority executive director David Bennett said in a September 2002 committee meeting that the garage wasn't allowed to make money.

Some city council members have asked a federal prosecutor to investigate the matter and are expected to address the garage issue Tuesday at a committee meeting.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)