Officials to consider "Garage Gate" in two weeks

It's a mystery that may never get solved, but it won't be for lack of trying: Why was the MATA bus terminal left out when the FedexForum's parking garage was built?  Now, a mostly new Shelby County Commission will take up the charge.

Former Shelby County Commissioner John Willingham led the original charge to find out what happened when the garage was built.  He left office wondering if the new members of the commission would continue his investigation.  At a commission meeting Monday, the subject came up.

"We feel that it was our duty as representatives of our districts and our city and county, to make sure we could provide the citizens an adequate amount of information to feel comfortable about the FedExForum," said Commissioner John Harvey.

Monday, the commission delayed action on the matter for two weeks, because most new members have not had a chance to go over the more than 1,000 pages of information on the case.  County attorney Brian Kuhn briefed new commissioners in executive session and advised them on their opinions.

"I think it's a good call," Kuhn said of the delay. "It's always good to review a topic that is not tainted by previous actions or histories a fresh look."

Commissioner Joe Ford said he will set up a committee meeting to begin talks, but he said as far as he is concerned the battle is over, especially after listening to the county attorney.

"We don't have a fight in it," he said. "Why are we fighting? The money came through the state to the city, not through the county."

Ford said he doesn't think the county commission has any standing in a lawsuit.  Ford's committee will take a look at the situation in two weeks.  The matter, as far as the county is concerned, could be dropped at that time, or the commission could proceed with a lawsuit.