Shell Game at Fairgrounds?

At our last Midtown Republican Club meeting a week ago Tuesday, County Commissioner Steve Basar dropped by. He updated us on what he’s been doing and then gave an interesting warning.

Today, the issue he discussed was on the CA’s front page. It concerns the project to redevelop the Fairgrounds. There was a meeting of the Cooper Young Community Association last night to discuss the project with Robert Lipscomb, the Memphis Housing and Community Development director. Basar attended as did Wes Riddle, a lawyer who is “leading a new group that’s raised questions about the project.”

From the newspaper account Lipscomb faced some doubts in the standing room only crowd. The story says Lipscomb “sparred” with Basar, but they then conveniently failed to tell us about it. Probably Basar was upset that the project is going to take a lot of money; money the city of Memphis does not have to spare. Nor does Lipscomb have to go before the City Council or County Commission to go forward with this. That is worrying.

Basar did warn us about the project at our meeting. He said that $36 million has already been spent and $176 million is the price tag. “The world of Robert Lipscomb sounds like he’s running a shell game to me,” Basar said. He mentioned Lipscomb’s penchant for starting various projects around town. “He has to keep the old game going” by taking 20% to do with what he wants. These shenanigans continue to happen. Nobody know where the money comes from.”

Basar said it would be interesting to look into the firms who benefit from Lipscomb’s projects.

Channel 24 covered more of it here:

Notice how Lipscomb says it’s urgent that this be done. Why? This Fairgrounds effort needs close monitoring. Something’s up and it’s troubling.

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