Commissioner continues criticism of Pyramid plan - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Commissioner continues criticism of Pyramid plan

Mike Ritz, the Shelby County Commissioner who's accusing Pyramid negotiators of withholding records, accused them Friday of sneaking projects into the Pyramid re-use plan to circumvent scrutiny.

The Pyramid Arena deal is so dicey, one local radio jock wants to sell it himself at, while Ritz is accusing the Pyramid's lease brokers of secret deals.

"The folks that want to expand the convention hall have something going on here, too," Ritz said. "There's a lot of things here going on."

Ritz was referring to records that show the deal to lease the arena to outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops includes plans to use portions of the Pyramid for new convention space.

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton has been lobbying to expand the arena since January.

"There's an arms race among cities for this lucrative tourism-convention business," Herenton said on January 29th.

The Memphis City Council is set to review the city's convention expansion proposal later this month, but Ritz says the convention deal was secretly thrown into the Bass Pro deal to get around that. 

"We've got to bring it out of the dark and give it more transparency," he said.

Ritz believes the Pyramid Re-Use Committee needs more public scrutiny.

"We gave to the city the opportunity to sort of manage this process with the Pyramid Committee, and the people who are on that committee aren't even elected officials," he said.

Friday, the key negotiators from the city, county, and the Pyramid Re-Use Committee were unavailable for comment.

Click here to send an email to Kontji Anthony.

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