Metro Legal says no conflict of interest in soccer stadium vote - WSMV News 4

Metro Legal says no conflict of interest in soccer stadium vote

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Artist's rendering of the proposed soccer stadium at the fairgrounds. (WSMV file) Artist's rendering of the proposed soccer stadium at the fairgrounds. (WSMV file)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Metro’s Legal Department has issued an opinion that Fair Board Chairman Ned Horton’s past involvement in a nonprofit soccer association is not a conflict of interest when it comes to voting on a soccer stadium proposed for the fairgrounds.

Last week, Horton was criticized by fairgrounds supporter Shane Smiley.

Smiley said Horton should have abstained from voting on the stadium, since Horton created a youth soccer program that could stand to benefit.

"And he has never once disclosed that he had anything to do with youth soccer, was part of any other organization, and he certainly hasn't recused himself from any votes," Smiley told News 4 on Nov. 21.

Horton started Nashville Soccer United in 2010. It’s a neighborhood program created for young soccer players. He said he left the organization in 2014, although his name still appeared on paperwork at the secretary of state's office as late as this past April.

"I was unaware that I was still involved in trailing paperwork, because I haven't been involved in three years," Horton told News 4.

The treasurer of Nashville Soccer United, Lynn Sherman, confirmed that Horton left the organization in 2014, and said the board kept Horton's name on the paperwork while they worked out some legal issues.

Horton asked Metro Legal for an opinion. The Department of Law wrote that Horton's "previous volunteer service and leadership" of the nonprofit is not a conflict of interest.

Horton is under fire by critics who want the fairgrounds left alone.

"It's fine, I guess it's politics," Horton said.

Horton said he sees a brighter future for the fairgrounds with the proposed soccer stadium replacing  buildings that he says have outlived their usefulness.

He said the outdated building that now house the flea market and other expos will be torn down and replaced with new structures elsewhere on the fairgrounds property.

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