But we've now discovered that they've actually pocketed almost $6 million, and there's another $4 million waiting for them to claim. It's all thanks to a lobbying effort on Tennessee's Capitol Hill.
"I just was a lobbyist, so I put the bill into the legislature," said Nashville attorney James Weaver.
Weaver is the man who went to Capitol Hill to get more of your money.
He's a longtime supporter of Mayor Karl Dean and a former lobbyist for the Nashville Predators.
After the team signed a lucrative new contract with the city in 2008, Weaver now admits he got state lawmakers to send them even more taxpayer money.
"We found out after the legislation had passed," Dean told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
But his longtime ally had a different suggestion.
"It was a public process," Weaver insisted. "Again, the bill was debated in the House, debated in the Senate, passed by both by large margins and signed by the governor."
Does Mayor Dean really expect us to believe--given general claims that mayors possess specialized knowledge of the ins and outs of financial dealings that we are not privy to--that he had no knowledge of a public process of state legislation that redistributed tax dollars to private enterprise? Karl Dean is a lawyer, for crying out loud.
Reporter Phil Williams also found that former Nashville Mayor, former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen inserted language into two different state bills that made the transfer of millions to the Preds possible. Dean worked for Bredesen when the latter was mayor, and a slew of Bredesenistas came to work for the Dean administration--at significant cost to taxpayers--after Bredesen's gubernatorial run ended.
The symbiosis between Dean and Bredesen (both of whom are Davidson Co. Democrats to boot) suggests to me that Dean would have had to have known that the fix was in on these bills. He cannot reasonably claim any deniability unless he simply kept himself willfully ignorant.
The part of this investigation where Dean's ineptness may slouch through is NewsChannel5's finding that MDHA hocked a sweetheart real estate deal to a local business in the convention center footprint that also had personal and influential connections at the Convention Center Authority. If the Mayor's Office prompted special assistance for one business it would be corrupt enough, but the very act of putting MDHA back in charge--after their mishandling of the Music City Center publicity deal with Dean ally, PR firm McNeely, Pigott, and Fox--is stupid and incredible.