Subpoenas issued to Beale Street businesses - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Subpoenas issued to Beale Street businesses

For the first time, subpoenas are going out to every business on Beale Street, demanding each business hand over all financial records, all the way down to the ledgers of checking accounts.

As the subpoenas go out, merchants are keeping quiet. So is their attorney, Julian Bolton.  Court records show Bolton filed a motion to quash every one of the subpoenas, because if the records were open to the public, it could expose them to theft or reveal corporate secrets.

The businesses aren't a party in a nine-year-old lawsuit that prompted the subpoenas.  Rather, the lawsuit is against the Beale Street Development Corporation.

"This project set up Beale Street Development Corp. was to make sure minority representation equal footing," said corporation executive director Randle Catron.

A legal expert says the lawsuit against the Beale Street Development Corporation started out as an eviction proceeding to get rid of the group.

Performa's president says the city may be trying to determine the value of the Beale Street Development Corporation through the subpoenas.

Catron has a different view of the audit.  He believe the audits are to find out if Performa isn't turning over the money it's supposed to give back to the city for future development projects.

"When someone's managing for 25 years and can't realize return on investment, the tax payers are getting screwed," Catron said.

The city attorney will only say that the audits are to examine the financial activity on the street.

Performa says the court ordered it to put that money in an escrow account until the lawsuit between the city and Beale Street Development Corporation is resolved. There is a motion to bring Performa in as a party to the lawsuit. 

There will be a hearing on the matter next Wednesday.

Click here to send an email to Lori Brown.

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