FILE - Nashville Mayor John Cooper 1-27-20

Nashville Mayor John Cooper

A Nashville city councilman is questioning the legality of Mayor John Cooper’s decision to stall subsidies for a Major League Soccer stadium.

Nashville already reached a financial agreement with the soccer team, Nashville SC, under the previous mayor, David Briley. The agreement amounted to $225 million in revenue bonds for the stadium and $25 million in general obligation bonds for infrastructure costs related to the stadium construction.

Cooper, however, has refused to sign the demolition work that would be required to complete the construction of the stadium because he is concerned about a higher-than-expected infrastructure cost near the stadium. He has said that the city will still keep its subsidy promise.

Councilman Colby Sledge has requested that Metro's Legal Department investigate the legality of stalling the subsidies and whether the city could face any liabilities.

“I'm concerned that the Mayor's Office appears to not be complying with a bill passed by Council and signed by the executive branch into law,” Sledge said in a statement provided to The Center Square via email.

“The Nashville SC stadium project at Fairgrounds Nashville will result in hundreds of new jobs, a new community gathering space, and – thanks to a privately negotiated Community Benefits Agreement – new housing, entrepreneurial and living-wage job opportunities for Nashvillians at risk of being left behind in the city's growth,” Sledge said. “It's important to note that the team has removed the 'backstop' payments negotiated in the original deal and has agreed to cover all infrastructure overruns, making the stadium 100 percent privately funded. The deal is good. The laws are passed. The stadium should be built.”

Nashville SC offered to pay an additional $54 million for the stadium as a means to address some of Cooper’s concerns.

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.