Councilman's job raises question of conflict - WSMV Channel 4

Councilman's job raises question of conflict

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The Nashville Sounds left Greer Stadium after the 2014 baseball season. (WSMV file photo) The Nashville Sounds left Greer Stadium after the 2014 baseball season. (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Greer Stadium became obsolete in August of 2014 when the Nashville Sounds moved to a new stadium near Germantown in downtown Nashville.

What's next for the Greer property has been the subject of much debate.

Metro government invited developers to submit their proposals, then, in May, chose Cloud Hill Partnership for the project.

According to the plan submitted by Cloud Hill, the venture would take the 21-acre tract, which includes the old Greer Stadium, and develop eight acres of parks, 300 units of workforce housing, creative spaces for musicians and artists, and a neighborhood market.

Colby Sledge is the councilman for that area.

Sledge until recently worked for the public relations company handling the Cloud Hill account: McNeely Pigot & Fox.

An MP&F employee is listed as the contact for Cloud Hill's  website. Cloud Hill lists MP&F as its media contact on its website.

"I worked for MP&F for five years," Sledge said.

Sledge said he did not work on the Cloud Hill account.

"Ever since I got elected two years ago, if MP&F has had any Metro-related work, we've created a firewall there where I can't access any folders. I don't get into discussions about those clients. It's the same way it works in a law firm," Sledge said.

Sledge hasn't been completely neutral about the project. He appears to support it in his social media posts.

"I don't like it. It's too cozy a relationship,” said Devinder Singh Sandhu.

Sandhu's company bid on the Greer project but lost out to Cloud Hill.

He said he thinks the councilman should have disclosed his potential conflict of interest.

"To find out that he was working with one of the other offerers, does not seem right to me," Sandhu said.

Sledge said he resigned from McNeely Pigot & Fox to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest.

"That just got to the point where, I want to do something different anyway, and that was one that was so deeply involved in my district that I don't want even the perception of a problem here, I'll just go ahead and leave," Sledge said.

Sledge said he resigned in mid-June. But he didn't quit before the deal was done; Cloud Hill was chosen by the city on May 26.

Katy Varney of McNeely Pigot & Fox told Channel 4 that Sledge gave notice that he intended to leave the company on May 30.

"I have faith in the system and I want to continue to have faith in the system. But when things like this happen, your faith diminishes a little bit," Sandhu said.

Sandhu’s company has filed a formal protest with Metro government of its decision to award the project to Cloud Hill. 

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