I-Team: New Fairgrounds project's questionable finances prompts - WSMV News 4

I-Team: New Fairgrounds project's questionable finances prompts special meeting

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)

After an investigation by the News4 I-Team, a Metro councilman has called a special meeting to ask questions about the finances involved with a new project slated for the Fairgrounds. 

Fair Park, the new development slated for the State Fairgrounds property off of Craighead Street, will include public soccer fields, a dog park and a greenway.

The New4 I-Team spent weeks trying to track your tax dollars, filing dozens of open-records requests to get answers about the project. 

A representative of the city’s finance office was unable to explain some of what we discovered.

Metro Council approved spending $3 million for the Fair Park project. However, Metro Dept. of Finance records show the total cost of the project is now an estimated $8.5 million.

The I-Team is still investigating why the budget is nearly three times higher than the original projection as well as who authorized the additional funds to cover the extra costs. 

"We have a government that is out of control in Nashville," said former Metro Councilman Duane Dominy "They apparently feel that ethics, policy and procedure are for the little guys -- and it's time that changed."

Metro Council also approved spending $12 million to upgrade the Fairgrounds for miscellaneous projects, like sprucing up the buildings.

The city hired Skanska USA  to oversee the project. Their construction management fee was to be $1,056,000, but Skanksa has already been paid $113,000 more than what they bid. 

Not to mention, Skanska’s fees only cover managing the project as they are not the builder -- and the $12 million project isn't done yet. 

That's not the only thing the News 4 I-Team found buried in the contracts. Investigators also discovered one subcontractor, Hawkins Partners, is billing taxpayers $68 dollars an hour for work done by an intern.

Councilman Robert Swope, chairman of the committee that oversees the Fairgrounds, is calling a special meeting on Wednesday at 4 p.m. to discuss discrepancies in the project. Swope is asking key players to answer some of the same questions the I-Team has been asking for months. 

Stay with News4 for updates on this developing story.  

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