NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A contract approved for construction of the Major League Soccer stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville has been ruled invalid because the Metro Sports Authority violated Tennessee Open Meetings Act, according to a ruling filed on Thursday.
According to court documents, the Sports Authority provided only 48 hours notice prior to a special meeting to approve a $192 million contract for construction of the stadium.
"The evidence is clear: Metro's delayed 48-hour notice of an irregularly scheduled meeting of the Sports Authority to approve a matter of significant public importance of the $192 million construction contract on the MLS stadium to be located on iconic Fairgrounds property, when there was no immediate urgency or emergency for such short notice, was inadequate notice to the public. These actions violate the requirement of the Open Meetings Act that 'adequate public notice' must be given," wrote Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle in the order.
The Sports Authority approved the contract with M.A. Mortenson Company/Messer Construction Company on Nov. 1, 2018. In accordance with the ruling, the contract is now void and of no effect.
Mayor John Cooper and Nashville Soccer Club owner John Ingram reached an agreement last year that the team would bear the brunt of the costs for building the stadium. This agreement was reached after Cooper was elected in August and looking for costs to cut in an attempt to improve the city's budget situation.
According to court documents, the contract in issue will not have to be rebid. Instead he penalty under the Act in this case is a "redo." The Metro Sports Authority will have to reschedule a meeting, provide adequate public notice and conduct another vote on whether to approve the contract.
It is not known how this affects the ongoing construction on the stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville.
The lawsuit was filed by Leo (Kwame) Lillard, Duane Dominy, Nashville Flea Market Vendors Association and Save Our Fairgrounds.