FILE - Nashville Mayor John Cooper 1-27-20

Nashville Mayor John Cooper

Nashville’s soccer team, Nashville SC, has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit that could prevent the team from receiving subsidies that were promised by the city.

The city struck a deal with Nashville SC in 2017 that would give the soccer team $225 million in revenue bonds for the construction of a new stadium and $25 million in general obligation bonds related to infrastructure costs associated with the project.

A coalition called Save Our Fairgrounds formed to prevent these subsidies from being provided, alleging several laws were violated in the agreement process. In a lawsuit filed by Save Our Fairgrounds seeking to stop construction of the stadium, the coalition says the city violated state and local laws, as well as procedural requirements, including appointing Nashville Soccer Holdings employees to evaluation committees, which they allege is a conflict of interest. 

The lawsuit could put the subsidies on hold and jeopardize Nashville SC’s standing with the league. The team filed a motion last week to intervene in the lawsuit.

“Because of the fluid nature of the future of the soccer stadium, it is prudent to file this motion,” Zach Hunt, spokesman for Nashville Soccer Holdings, said in a statement. “We have to be sure our interests, the interests of soccer fans and the supporters of building the stadium are protected.”

In addition to legal issues, newly elected Nashville Mayor John Cooper has refused to sign onto demolition work needed for the stadium construction, citing higher-than-expected infrastructure costs. He said the city will fulfill its stadium obligation, but not costs that exceed the original agreement. Nashville SC has offered to pay an additional $54 million for the stadium, which would cover some of the higher costs.

Cooper’s decision to halt the demolition work also will receive legal scrutiny. Nashville Councilman Colby Sledge has requested an investigation into this decision by the Metro’s Legal Department.

The project is expected to create hundreds of jobs. Construction was supposed to start last October, but has been held up.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Tennessee for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.