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Time for THIS local hack to take a whack

Yesterday, I blasted the Tennessean for their take on the Sommet Center lease negotiations between the David Freeman-led ownership group and the city of Nashville. In the interest of fairness, I need to make a correction to that article, and offer a sincere apology to the Tennessean on one particular point.

The portion I'm referring to read as follows:

The biggest oversight in the Tennessean's report is the omission of a critical part of the propsal: that in exchange for management fees from the city, the owners would take over the risk of operating loss at the Sommet Center.

Upon a further review of the city's analysis, however, it does appear that this factor is taken into consideration regarding the increased Management Fee that would be paid by Metro under this proposal. The PDF of the city's analysis is pretty grainy (it looks like a fax that was then scanned in), but a footnote appears to read "Base Mgt Fee based on 2006 GEC audit, $6.5 Base Mgt Fee less (excess expense over revenue before Metro debt service, $3,660,262, plus SLIC $426,960, or $4,086,242."

In other words, the approximately $2.5 million increase in the Base Management Fee does appear to take the operating loss transfer into account. I was wrong on that point, and I deeply regret the error.

The Tennessean is still guilty of not presenting the full picture, however. A major factor in the transfer of operating profit/loss risk is that under the current management agreement, there is little incentive to maximize profit generated at the Sommet Center outside of hockey games, resulting in an underused facility. The intent behind this risk transfer is to give the new ownership group another avenue to make the entire facility more profitable, and potentially bring 30-50 more events downtown. This would benefit both public and private parties, through increased business during the summer months. The paper's portrayal of Freeman & Gang simply lining up for a public handout continues to be a gross misrepresentation of the situation.

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