MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis River Parks Partnership has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the Memphis in May organization.

Following this year’s Memphis in May festival, Memphis River Parks Partnership sent Memphis in May a bill for damages that totaled $1.4 million. Memphis in May President and CEO Jim Holt claimed that the amount is approximately 23 times what the organization usually pays in damage.

Memphis in May sent a statement Friday evening.

“The invoice was received late on August 2nd, 37 days past the date stipulated in the lease agreement. We have submitted a claim with our insurance carrier as per guidance given by City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland during lease negotiations at City Hall in March that should the damages exceed the city’s $500,000 allocation and Memphis in May’s $250,000 our insurance carrier will cover any overages. Memphis in May has and always will meet our financial responsibilities whatever they are determined realistically to be.

We will have public comment related to the bill for purported damages and restoration charges once we receive a response from our insurance carrier.”

A statement confirming the lawsuit was also released from Tannera Gibson and Jon Lakey at Burch, Porter, and Johnson, PLLC.

“Today, we filed suit on behalf of Riverfront Development, Inc., d/b/a Memphis River Parks Partnership, against Memphis in May International Festival, Inc. (MIM).  While our client regrets that litigation has proven necessary, MIM has failed to pay for damages caused to Tom Lee Park by the Music and Barbeque festivals run by MIM. A neutral, third-party arbiter appointed by the City confirms that these damages were caused by the festivals and are owed by MIM under the contract executed by MIM and our client. 

After extending the deadline for the payment of these damages by MIM and even that extended deadline not being met, our client had no choice but to file the instant action.  Moving forward, this matter will be handled through the court system.”

Memphis in May recently announced that the festival would likely be leaving Tom Lee Park after 2024 and would likely scale down in size.

“Rest assured; the Memphis in May festival will go forward in 2024 and in the future. However, it likely will be much smaller in scale and very likely at a different location,” Holt said in an email sent to volunteers.

In August, the Greater Memphis Chamber announced that it will lead the international and economic development events that are part of the Memphis in May starting next year.

“By combining our international expertise with Memphis in May’s iconic, globally recognized brand, I believe we will create an economic development opportunity for Memphis and the countries we honor that is truly unique to our region,” Chamber President & CEO Ted Townsend said in a news release.

Tom Lee Park recently reopened to the public after it underwent a years-long renovation. The renovation reportedly cost $62 million.