McGee said that the center, which has been plagued with allegations of mismanagement under Public Services and Neighborhoods director Ken Moody and deputy director Yalanda McFadgon, will also be audited by an outside firm.
Before discussion about MSARC began, Moody and McFadgon, already at the table for a previous item, excused themselves from the room. Conrad then requested that the council hear the issue during executive session.
"I want to hear from the people responsible for this division," he said.
After Joe Brown, the committee chair, did not accept the motion, another motion was made to overrule the chair. Brown did not accept that motion, either, and several council members then left the room.
Brown said the council owed it to the public and the media to hear McGee's presentation.
"We don't turn over meetings in the middle of a session," Brown said. "We just don't do that. We're going to hear this meeting out."
City Council chair Myron Lowery later entered the meeting and said they would hear the issue in executive session later on today.
To read more, including comments from the council's executive session, go to the In The Bluff blog.
During MCA's 2009 commencement ceremony, Wharton, MCA trustee Ellen Cooper Klyce and former Commercial Appeal arts writer Fredric Koeppel, were all given honorary doctorates of fine arts.
Wharton, also the commencement speaker, said the students would step out into the world not as a new generation but as the re-generation, a reference from Thomas Friedman's book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded.
"What if the world was without color and only shades of gray, black, and white?" Wharton asked. "What you have to offer is bigger than your canvas and field of study."
This is the second annual festival, supported by a multi-religious civic group called Friends of Israel. The goal is to promote Israel and explain its importance to the world. For more info on the festival and the race, go to the Memphis Friends of Israel website.
John Pierotti, a former Shelby County District Attorney General, expects the case to stay in state court. All of those indicted so far in connection with car tags and licenses face state charges. Memphis City Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware was not indicted but was named as making payments to clerks in 2007 and 2008. She has said she did nothing improper or illegal. Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons has said more indictments are likely.
"I wouldn't think Bill would be going to the trouble of requesting an investigative grand jury unless he intends to prosecute it," Pierotti said.
Pierotti said it is rare for a D.A. to make that request, and he never did it during his tenure.
Defense attorney Leslie Ballin said it might be "cleaner" to move the case to federal court, so there would no need to appoint a special prosecutor if Gibbons decides to recuse himself.
Gibbons, a former City Council member before any of the current members were elected, is planning to run for governor. A third possibility is parallel or joint investigations with state and federal indictments. Pat Brown, a former federal public defender in Memphis, said some cases go both ways if there are multiple defendants and state and federal violations.
Football booster Logan Young was indicted on federal charges announced at a joint press conference by Gibbons and former United States Attorney General Terry Harris. And former Shelby County Commission aide Calvin Williams was indicted on state charges before that case was dropped and he was later tried and convicted on federal charges.
Public corruption cases in recent years have generally been handled in federal court, including the Tennessee Waltz cases and the Main Street Sweeper cases against former councilmen Rickey Peete (who pleaded guilty) and Edmund Ford (who was found not guilty at trial).