Memphis Mayor And City Council At Odds Over Trust Issues

(Memphis) The rocky relationship between Mayor A C Wharton and the Memphis City Council is taking a turn for the worse.

Some council members say they can’t trust the mayor anymore because of the AutoZone Park deal in which he’s asking the council to approve the borrowing of $25 million, as well as the way he’s handling other city business.

Council members are accusing the mayor of not being straight up with them on information about big multimillion dollar projects, including the purchase of AutoZone Park.

The mayor would not give News Channel 3 a comment on those accusations.

Council member Lee Harris says he’s losing trust and faith in the mayor.

“I asked them point blank whether or not they negotiate a lower deal and they could not tell me whether or not they offered a lower price or if they would take a lower price,” said Harris.

Harris says the council can’t make a decision on whether or not to buy AutoZone park because the mayor’s office hasn’t done its job of getting the best deal and getting information to the council.

“The council’s lost trust with the mayor and the administration and it’s a problem for the city,” said Councilman Kemp Conrad.

Councilmen Conrad and Jim Strickland are considered key swing votes and are also frustrated by the lack of transparency.

“We need information from the administration. I’ve plead with them to communicate with us. We don’t get the information,” said Conrad.

Strickland even cornered the mayor to tell him about his concerns.

“Just the difficulty in getting correct numbers. That’s what we were talking about,” said Strickland.

Council members say this tactic of not sharing information in an attempt to manipulate the council use to work, but now it’s delaying things like it did last night with the AutoZone Park deal to reach since the mayor isn’t sharing.

1 Comment

  • Nonya Bidness

    So it’s not a matter of whether or not to buy AZ Park but how the negotiations were conducted. This is city council trying to expand it’s power by telling the mayor you have to consider us in the deal or there is no deal.

    But both sides have lost focus. They wanted the people of Memphis to pay more in sales tax to pay for a “vitally important” pre-school program but they are not willing to forgo purchases like AZ Park to fund that program.

    The watch-word of the day is Cui Bono which means “as a benefit to whom?” Who benefits from the city purchasing AZ Park. What happens when the Red Birds move out of town? Does the Park make a profit as it is run today? Who will run the park…. city employees that are promised a retirement that isn’t funded?

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