Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another Public Relations Fail for Mayor Karl Dean: Hotel Consulting Firm is Way Over Convention Center Budget

The ink has barely dried on MDHA's announcement of selection of Marriott's "premium" line of hotels for the new convention center, but whatever traction the Mayor's office might have got to turn the corner on its balance sheet nightmare was undone once again by NewsChannel5. The TV news station has a new report tonight that the consulting firm MDHA picked for the hotel portion of the Music City Center has overcharged their budget by over $200,000 and rising:
The latest contract was with the consulting firm C.H. Johnson. Their job was to help MDHA with the hotel portion of the proposed convention center which announced this week would be a Marriott Hotel.

The contract with C.H. Johnson was signed in June of last year. It said costs will not exceed $93,500 plus $11,000 for expenses.

Six months later the contract was amended and left open ended to services paid on an as needed basis.

As of last month MDHA has paid the firm nearly $315,000 - three times the amount of the original contract ....

Last week, MDHA amended the C.H. Johnson contract again. There's a cap on spending at $500,000 - nearly five times the original budget.
So, MDHA's contract with a consulting firm is going to cost half-a-million Metro dollars and ground has not even broken, yet. Metro Nashville is spending $1 million just on an advertising firm and on a consulting company so that Mayor Karl Dean can get his name on a big capital budget project.

Had enough, yet? Will we remember this next summer when Mayor Dean announces a new round of Metro budget cuts due to belt-tightening economic conditions?


  1. Sad to say that I'm not surprised.

    They paid all the invoices submitted by the consultant on our S-Town block grant without checking the budget.

    I guess adding numbers is hard, and stuff.

  2. Do you get the sense that maybe the Mayor's Office is using the word "cap" differently than we are? I do not think that word means what they think it means. Maybe they just think it means that you go through one of the capos before you get to kiss the ring?