VOL. 133 | NO. 34 | Thursday, February 15, 2018
Comptroller: City Obeyed Most Rules in Sale of Parks
The state Comptroller’s Office has determined the city of Memphis’ Dec. 20, 2017, sale of Health Sciences Park and the easement to Memphis Park to Memphis Greenspace Inc. appropriately followed related laws with the exception of requiring Memphis Greenspace to submit an application so it could gauge the nonprofit’s financial stability.
The Comptroller’s Office released its findings Wednesday, Feb. 14, after completing a review of the transactions.
The sale of the parks followed the city’s unsuccessful attempt to receive a waiver from the Tennessee Historical Commission to remove a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest from Health Sciences Park. After the parks were sold, statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jefferson Davis, and James Harvey Mathes were removed by Memphis Greenspace.
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, and Houser Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, requested the review to determine compliance with the Tennessee Open Meetings Act and other state and local laws.
The Comptroller’s Office of Open Records Counsel determined the Memphis City Council provided sufficient notice of its meetings and agendas and did not violate the Tennessee Open Meetings Act.
Comptroller auditors also concluded the city acted with the authority granted by the Memphis Code of Ordinances to sell the parks to a nonprofit at less than market value. The parks were each sold to Memphis Greenspace for $1,000.
But auditors found the city did not follow all of the guidelines in the code of ordinances by not requiring Memphis Greenspace “to submit an application to the City Real Estate Department before the properties were conveyed as required by the Memphis Code of Ordinances (Section 2-16-1(G)(2)). The purpose of this application is to gauge an entity’s financial strength and overall stability,” according to a press release.
Memphis maintained it was able to determine the nonprofit was financially capable of maintaining the parks by meeting directly with Memphis Greenspace, which is led by attorney Van Turner, who is also a Shelby County commissioner. The city also provided auditors with three other instances when it had sold property without requiring an application to the City Real Estate Department.
In its report, the Comptroller’s Office recommends that the city enter into a formal memorandum of understanding with Memphis Greenspace for the storage and protection of the historic figures and artifacts.
– Daily News staff
Regional One Names New Chief Legal Officer
Regional One Health has named Imad Abdullah its chief legal officer.
Abdullah joined Regional One Health in 2014. As the principal attorney and general counsel for the health system, he is responsible for managing all aspects of legal affairs and risk management.
Prior to joining Regional One, Abdullah was a shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash & Smoak and spent nearly a decade at Baker Donelson law firm handling civil cases in the areas of health care, employment and commercial litigation.
Abdullah is active in the Memphis community, serving on the board of the Bodine School, which specializes in educating and remediating dyslexic learners, and he previously served on the board of Pleasant View School.
– Andy Meek
Memorial Fund Created for Coach Tommy Buford
The Tiger Scholarship Fund has created a memorial account in honor former University of Memphis men’s tennis coach Tommy Buford, who died Jan. 14 at age 83 at his home in Boise, Idaho.
The account was created at the request of former Tiger tennis players and friends of Buford.
Buford served as men’s tennis coach at Memphis for 32 years. A 2005 inductee into the M Club Hall of Fame, Buford also served as the long-time director of the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour event, which was held each February at The Racquet Club of Memphis through 2017.
Under Buford’s guidance, the indoor event attracted some of the sport’s top stars, including Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick. In part because of his Southern charm and hospitality, the players voted Buford as one of the ATP World Tour’s top six tennis officials in 1985.
Buford guided a number of former Tigers who have contributed greatly to the Memphis tennis community. Former Tiger Phil Chamberlain followed in Buford’s shoes and became the Memphis men’s tennis coach after Buford resigned to devote his time to running the ATP World Tour event in Memphis. Peter Lebedevs, another former Tiger, followed Buford in tournament administration. Lebedevs succeeded Chamberlain as the Memphis ATP event’s tournament director before accepting an offer as the assistant tournament director at the BB&T Atlanta Open, a summer event on the ATP World Tour.
Donations made in Buford’s name will benefit the Memphis men’s tennis program. Donations can be sent to: Tommy Buford Memorial Fund, c/o Tiger Scholarship Fund, 570 Normal, Attn: Brock McWhorter, Memphis, Tennessee, 38152.
– Don Wade
Germantown Getting Jazzercise Center
Two local franchise owners are looking to bring West Tennessee its first official Jazzercise center.
Donna Cross and Regina Roberson have signed a lease to occupy 1,200 square feet at 7869 Farmington Blvd. in Loeb Properties’ Farmington Centre.
Aaron Petree, vice president brokerage, represented Loeb.
The new space on Farmington Boulevard near Poplar Avenue will offer aerobic exercise and dance fitness, including strike, cardio and dance-mix workouts, as well as interval, strength and core training.
The new facility will have eight instructors and 27 morning, evening and weekend classes. It is expected open in early March.
– Patrick Lantrip
Tigers’ 2018 Football Slate Includes Trip to Missouri
The 2018 University of Memphis football schedule is out and includes seven home games, five on Saturdays, and a road trip to Columbia, Missouri, to play Barry Odom’s Missouri Tigers.
Mike Norvell’s third Memphis team begins play with the home opener Sept. 1 vs. Mercer at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. For the fifth straight season Memphis opens and closes a campaign with home games, the regular season ending with a Nov. 23 visit from Houston.
Mercer is one of three first-time opponents, along with Georgia State and South Alabama; the Tigers were scheduled to meet Georgia State in 2017, but the game was pushed back to a future season due to Hurricane Irma.
For the second consecutive year, Memphis faces Connecticut (home), ECU (away) and UCF (home) from the American Athletic Conference’s East Division. UCF defeated Memphis twice in Orlando, Florida, last season, including in the AAC title game.
Here are some other schedule highlights:
• Sept. 8 at Navy: Tigers’ earliest conference opener since joining The American in 2013; also earliest West Division game since league went to two divisions in 2015
• Sept. 14 vs. Georgia State: The first of only two Friday home match-ups in 2018
• Sept. 22 vs. South Alabama: The fourth FBS program from Alabama the Tigers will face in their history, leaving Troy as the only FBS team Memphis has not played
• Sept. 28 at Tulane: Third straight season the Tigers and Green Wave meet in a Friday night league clash
• Oct. 6 vs. Connecticut: The Huskies’ first trip to the Liberty Bowl since the 2014 regular-season finale, a game in which Memphis won a share of the AAC crown with a 41-10 win
• Oct. 13 vs. UCF: Tigers welcome the defending AAC champion to the Liberty Bowl
• Oct. 20 at Missouri: Fourth time Memphis meets Missouri in program history, and the third time the two teams play each other as members of different leagues. Memphis faces former defensive coordinator Barry Odom, who enters his third season as Missouri’s head coach.
• Oct. 27 (BYE)
• Nov. 3 at ECU: Tigers’ first trip to Greenville, North Carolina since 2012
• Nov. 10 vs. Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane won the last meeting in the Bluff City in 2016
• Nov. 16 at SMU: The 2017 Memphis-SMU game piled up 111 points and 1,141 of total offense
• Nov. 23 vs. Houston: Fourth-straight season the Tigers host the regular-season finale at home; the second home Friday game of the season
– Don Wade