Councilman Boyd rescinds contract with Beale Street merchants

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd announced Tuesday he's rescinding a controversial security contract with the Beale Street Merchants Association but did not admit any wrongdoing.

“I’ve heard all the criticisms that the public thinks of my newfound relationship with the Beale Street Merchants Association. I am going to rescind my contract with the Merchants Association," he said.

"But in my defense, it’s no different than if I was going to go to Silky O’Sullivan’s and get a job waiting on tables.”

Boyd had contracted with the merchants' association to find corporate sponsorships for three events on Beale.

But at the last council meeting he voted on a resolution that would have the Downtown Memphis Commission reimburse business owners for some security expenses related to the Beale Street Bucks program — a vote that could benefit those Beale Street business owners.

Boyd later said he forgot to recuse himself from that vote.

He said he Tuesday that he consulted lawyers before accepting the contract and got clearance. But, he never mentioned how he forgot to abstain from the vote.

Boyd apologized to the other council members for creating a news stir.

As for the $257,000 the council has sitting in the bank from this summer’s $5 Beale Street Bucks fees, the council tabled their decision on what to do with that until Oct. 3.