Monday, November 19, 2001

3 VIEWS OF BREDESEN'S MNF AFFAIR

3 VIEWS OF BREDESEN'S MNF AFFAIR

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2001 at 4:00 AM

Phil Bredesen may be crying all the way to the bank. His two-tiered fundraising reception at Adelphia Coliseum last Monday night--a $2,500-a-head affair attended by about 200 people, and another for $500 that drew draw another 150 donors-- drew fire from both Democratic and Republican sources, who focused on the host for the affair, Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams.

In a news release issued even before the fundraiser-- which paralleled and overlooked the Titans-Ravens Monday-Night-Football thriller-- was held, the state GOP recapped the beneficial arrangements which enticed Adam’s then Houston Oilers to Nashville and said “While the city continues to pay the bills on the new stadium, Adams retains control of events held there. The original deal struck between Bredesen and Adams stipulates that the city can hold three events in the stadium per year. However, the contract also requires that half the profits from those events go back into the stadium capital fund. As a result of these contract provisions, Nashville has been unable to convince major artists to host their events at the new stadium.

”Bud Adams has unrestricted access to the building, with all of the profits from events he hosts at his own discretion. On November 13, Adams will give those profits to the man who gave him that privilege, Phil Bredesen.”

An equally scornful appraisal came from the gubernatorial campaign of former Education Commissioner Charles Smith, the Democrat who has so far proved most willing to get in Bredesen's face: “The biggest story is that Phil Bredesen is obviously more comfortable with the Nashville elite than with the average people of Tennessee. The rank and file will find it alarming that Bredesen will align himself so tightly with one of the Go-To guys of the Republican Party, Bud Adams, who was the money darling for the likes of Kay Bailey Hutchison and Bob Dole.

”It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Bud Adams got the sweetheart deal of the century and is returning the favor a couple of years later. If it costs $2500 a pledge you gotta be paying for more than the food. Tennessee loves the Titans but the taxpayers of Tennessee hate the new taxes it’s taking. By this time the stadium was supposed to making money. The most recent year cost the taxpayers of Nashville $20 million.

Meanwhile, the Bredesen campaign, which came out some quarter-million dollars ahead Monday night (the Titans, alas, lost at the buzzer), sounded unperturbed. Said the former Nashville mayor himself to The Tennessean: ''We were on Monday Night Football last night in an exciting game. You can't buy publicity for the city like that. When you look at what it's done for the city, pulling together different parts of the city. The presence it's given us nationally. In retrospect, it's been a great bargain for the city. I'm real proud of it.''

Bredesen backer Byron Trauger sounded a similar note: ''I guess they're grasping at straws. This is a great civic space. We couldn't be prouder that Phil Bredesen brought the Tennessee Titans to Tennessee.''

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