Dean, Sounds’ relationship on the rocks

Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 12:05am

The Nashville Sounds and Mayor Karl Dean may not be talking anytime soon after yesterday.

That’s because the Sounds moved forward Wednesday with state legislation providing a financing method for a new Nashville Sounds stadium despite Dean’s office request not to do so.

The mayor’s office said the Sounds were committing an “act of bad faith.”

“The fact that they are bringing this legislation forward after having been specifically asked not to, the city considers that an act of bad faith on the part of the Sounds,” said Eddie Davidson, Metro Nashville’s lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

“As a result of this act of bad faith, the city will not be holding any further negotiations or discussions with the Sounds or any of their representations as a result of this action.

“The city believes that this bill is a step backward in the move to keep baseball in Nashville, Tennessee.”

Davidson said the Sounds needed to be focusing on private dollars as opposed to public financing.

Despite that statement, the three-member Senate Tax Subcommittee, composed of two Davidson County members, voted 2-1 to give a positive recommendation to the Sounds bill.

The Sounds legislation would allow sales taxes collected at the new stadium through tickets, concessions and other expenditures to pay the debt on the facility. Sales taxes collected from hotels and restaurants on the stadium’s footprint would also go toward paying down the debt.

Some observers were shocked the Sounds would take a step that would severely strain if not sever ties with Dean’s office.

In a statement, Glenn Yaeger, the Sounds’ general manager, said the ball club was pleased with the Senate panel’s vote and remained hopeful discussions could still continue with Dean’s office.

“We hope everyone will view this as a positive step towards building a ballpark and keeping baseball in Nashville,” Yaeger said. “We are hopeful to sit down with the mayor and have continued discussions.”

Dean’s office, however, was miffed over the Sounds’ actions.

“We have met with the Sounds and made it clear that there was a level of private financial commitment that had to be in place before we had any serious dialogue,” said Greg Hinote, Dean’s deputy mayor. “That hasn’t happened. From our perspective, any commitment of public money is putting the cart before the horse.”

Sen. Joe Haynes (D-Goodlettsville) voted to recommend the legislation along with Sen. Diane Black (R-Gallatin). Sen. Douglas Henry (D-Nashville) voted against the bill.

It now goes forward to the full Senate Finance Committee and faces many significant hurdles before having a chance at becoming law.

Haynes, a Dean supporter during the mayor’s race, commended Dean for handling the Nashville Predators’ negotiations but said he favored the financing concept the Sounds were using through the legislation.

“I’m going to support (it) and I’m going to do so with the best wishes to the mayor and his ability to deal with the Sounds,” Haynes said.

The financing method proposed for a new Sounds’ stadium is similar to the one used to pay the debt on LP Field, Farr said.

The Sounds were previously planning on building a ballpark in downtown Nashville’s old thermal plant site before plans fell through.

David McMahon, a Sounds’ lobbyist, said the ball club is not “tied to one particular site” for building a new ballpark.

Nate Rau contributed to this story.

Filed under: City News
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By: bfra on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Well there' the hole in the ground (evidently Bredesen take's the ratboy nickname seriously), the convention center, sound's stadium, the predators. What else does the money grubbing politicians have to ram down the taxpayer's throats?

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

There is no doubt now that the Sounds have declared war against the taxpayers and think they are entitled to our money.Think about that next time the thought of going to a game crosses your mind. Notice who voted for it, Out of Towners.

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 7:00

So, Nashville keeps state sales taxes to use on the Sounds and Predators but the rest of the state pays state sales taxes so Nashville's schools can continue to operate.Let's reroute the Cumberland so the State Castle can have a moat and drawbridge. Wouldn't want the peasants storming the castle.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I'm with you Titan1!

By: jackechambers on 12/31/69 at 7:00

idgaf -- "Out of Towners"? Goodlettsville and Gallatin are both part of Metro Nashville / Davidson County.I especially like the capital letters. Like Damned Yankees or Damned Foreigners.This is a relatively small deal that could keep a longtime strong community presence here, and is nothing compared to the sweetheart deals enjoyed by the Predators and Titans. Downtown Memphis and Chattanooga are thriving with new minor-league ballparks.

By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I am in favor of this, but I agree with Dean that the Sounds need to look for more private dollars. I really hope the Sounds can build a downtown stadium, as Jackechambers stated, Memphis and Chattanooga are doing very well with their minor league parks. There are still shady areas in the downtown area that I would love to replace with the family-oriented attraction of the Sounds stadium.

By: dnewton on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I say we treat sports mania as a mental illness and build treatment facilities and use Tenncare dollars instead. I am pretty sure we could get economist like Dr. Fox to show up and figure all of those fancy multipliers. Everyone should know that medical activity multipliers are superior to the multipliers for many other activities.

By: ERNEST HILL on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Seems like everyone else is feeding at the taxpayers trough, why not the Sounds. I opposed the stadium, it got built anyway (with tax payers funds), I opposed the Arena, it got built anyway. Go Sounds!!

By: harnessg on 12/31/69 at 7:00

And the one sports venue that doesn't currently use ANY tax dollars is in danger of going away. The Speedway at the Fairgrounds could very well be on its last legs. Meanwhile my tax money is going for sports I don't even like.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

dnewton,That was funny!

By: betsybledsoe on 12/31/69 at 7:00

JACKECHAMBERS: Gallatin is part of Sumner county AND almost half of Goodlettsville is considered Sumner County.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I say that people should pay for their own entertainment. Rich people pay for their own entertainment so why should not the working class pay for theirs.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I say that people should pay for their own entertainment. Rich people pay for their own entertainment so why should not the working class pay for theirs.

By: Kosh III on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Not ONE word of the story gives any details of what this latest bit of welfare would entail. Did anyone at NCP study Journalism?

By: JohnnyLaw on 12/31/69 at 7:00

What other sports options are there in Memphis or Chattanooga?  The Grizzlies are execreble and the subject of constant rumors about moving, and the Pyramid was already built.  At least those border cities can argue that they are pulling revenue from other states that they'd not otherwise get; in Nashville, a Sounds ticket likely means a decrease in $$ spent at the Speedway or the Ryman or Lower Broad.  If minor league baseball is so lucrative, why won't anybody put up their own money to establish it?

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Don't forget the new convention center between the two thats a BILLION DOLLARS.Thats 2,ooo per person for everyone in Davidson country before the "extras"/cost over runs.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

idgaf,STOP with the Convention Center stuff. I know you can't get it thru your thick skull but the center is NOT funded with tax dollars.

By: dnewton on 12/31/69 at 7:00

The old convention center was funded with tax dollars and so I would like to know how a newer and bigger convention center is going to be funded without tax dollars. All you are doing is building a bigger net to catch more fish of a species that is dissapearing because of over fishing. The additional taxation will make it harder to compete against the only successful areas of the country like Orlando and Las Vegas. The estimates are not reliable nor are the people who made them because they have a conflict of interest in the outcome.

By: develop12344321 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

How can Dean support a larger sales tax recapture for the Preds when he is already giving them $$$millions in City money but can't support this legisaltion when he gives the Sounds $$ zero in City money?He is "way off base" on this one.The Sounds deserve better. This one does not pass the smell test Mayor!

By: Houston on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I didn't think Karl Dean had the backbone, and it's nice to be pleasantly surprised. Let's just see how long he can hold up against that little group of baseball fans who want the rest of us to subsidize their hobby.

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Producer2, you continue to say the convention center is NOT funded with tax dollars. How is the convention center going to be financed.We know that the entire Hotel/Motel tax takes in around $26 million a year. The convention center will require payments in excess of $35 million a year to pay back twenty year bonds. Of course, you would have to stop using this tax for tourism, the arena, municipal auditorium, farmer's market, the current convention center, etc.How will the new convention center be financed?

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I like to argue on message boards. Gives me something to do besides work.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

dnewton and dragon,The current centers bonds were 100% TOTALLY paid off early with the funds from the hotel/motel tax. Not one cent came from Davidson Co. Taxpayers. Do a search and you will see for yourself. The debt was retired last fall. The new center is funded the same way. Read the prospectus and you will see how it is broken down. The $26 million a year is for the existing cash flow and does not include the new $2 per room night and car rental fund recently implemented by the State. The cash flow to finance the bonds was based on 2007 figures with no escalators for growth of business, more hotel rooms, or other factors. More importantly, the area of the Tourism Development Zone has not been determined or approved yet so no one can accurately estimate or predict the amount that might be generated from that source.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Here is a link that will help explain:http://www.nashville.gov/mdha/docs/Convention_Center.pdf

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 7:00

The final bond on the current convention center was paid off in November 2007, six months ago. The original 20-year bond was paid off in May 2006, roughly 6 months early. The center is now obsolete.The cash flow to finance the proposed convention center has not been identified.As to the Hotel/Motel tax (without the latest increase), see page H-126 of the Metro budget. Tell me which of the other things the tax supports should be eliminated.

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

You are correct the current center is obsolete because it cannot handle the size or numbers of groups wishing to come to Nashville. Not all groups want to go to Gaylord, in fact many do not. There are plans (unannounced)for the current center so it will not be totally wasted. The funding for the new center has been identified, H-126 of the proposed Metro Budget deals with the Gulch so I am not sure what you want me to look at.

By: Dragon on 12/31/69 at 7:00

H-126 was on the approved FY08 budget. The proposed FY09 budget would be H-128. Also in the document is an $800k subsidy for the current convention center.Maybe you can get rid of the $4.6 million subsidy for the Sommet Center.

By: slzy on 12/31/69 at 7:00

with fuel prices,businesses crashing,etc.,"will there be a need for a convention center?"
"22071

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

slzy,yes

By: producer2 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

First it was David Mannings budget and he cooked the books. Second the tax was raised by 1 cent and the funding is using only 3 cents of the 6 cents available per room night and finally ALL of the $2 per room tax and the car rental tax is figured in. Got all that? I think that is operating expense for the current center and since the debt is retired that is where they were pulling the arena money from.

By: slzy on 12/31/69 at 7:00

as tight as money is,i don't think a bank would loan any money to anybody. any surefire plan usually is closely held.