Updated with MDHA's response:
The Metro Development and Housing Agency is taking heat for demonstrating contracting issues in work related to the proposed $585 million convention center, which Metro officials say has jeopardized the group’s future with the project.
A report released late Wednesday afternoon by Kraft CPAs reveals “serious flaws in contracting practices by MDHA,” Metro Director of Law Sue Cain and Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling wrote in a letter addressed to MDHA Director Phil Ryan.
But Ryan defended his agency's work. "Through our predevelopment activities, we have provided the city with a world-class design, more than 1,800 pages of architects' work, and a top-notch construction team that is preparing a guaranteed maximum price project for Metro Council consideration in the near future," Ryan said in a written response.
"The plans for the Music City Center are for a building that is beautiful and respectful of air, water and energy. In producing this work, we have been on-time and on budget. ... The process has been transparent, and we have welcomed and given our full cooperation to this review. First and foremost, it's important to remember that the Music City Center project has remained in budget and has been successfully managed by MDHA, with the involvement of hundreds of persons involved in the design and construction."
Earlier this year, Ryan and MDHA were scrutinized when payments to the public relations firm hired to promote the convention center ballooned to $458,000, considerably more than the $75,000 the contract had allowed for.
Episodes that run contrary to MDHA’s procurement policy include:
The report also found no contract was executed for $350,000 spent by the Nashville Convention and Visitors’ Bureau during the “Blitz Campaign” for the Music City Center
The analysis found “no issues of note” with MDHA’s performance in contracting women- or minority-owned businesses, an issue that had been raised by the Metro Council’s Black Caucus.