NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Nashville’s law director filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking the court to declare recently-enacted state legislation, which would replace six Metro-appointed members of the Nashville Sports Authority with appointments by state officials, unconstitutional.
“We do not enjoy filing lawsuits against the State and in fact hope for an improved relationship,” said Law Director Wally Dietz. “But this statute affects only Nashville, not any other sports authority in Tennessee. We cannot sit idly by and let the State deprive the Metropolitan Government and the people who live here of their rights under our Tennessee Constitution.”
According to a statement released by the mayor’s office on Wednesday, Oct. 11, the statute fundamentally changes the Nashville Sports Authority’s structure by vacating the current 13-member board of directors on Jan. 1, 2024; reappointing seven people who were members of the board as of June 30; removing the power of the mayor and the Metro Council to appoint and confirm the remaining six directors; and giving that appointment power to state officials.
In addition, the statute reportedly does not allow for Metro Council or the voters to approve it.
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“Since its creation in 1995, the Sports Authority’s board members—Nashvillians appointed by the mayor of Nashville—have guided the incredible growth of our city’s professional and amateur sports and recreational activities. Their able oversight is evident at every stadium, arena, and ballpark event we all enjoy,” said Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell.
Officials said the complaint — which was filed in Davidson County Chancery Court and will be heard by a three-judge panel — aims to block the statute from taking effect in January.