No Secrets At Sommet Center

After recommending a committee be set up to decide in secret if the Nashville Predators’ owners qualify for a taxpayer-funded incentive worth up to $2 million a year, Sommet Center GM Hugh Lombardi withdrew the proposal Dec. 5.

The proposal “enables us to avoid making a public disclosure of material terms and financial results,” Lombardi wrote Nov. 3 to J.D. Elliott, chairman of the Metro Sports Authority’s finance committee, according to the Tennessean.

Lombardi, who is also the executive VP of Powers Management, which operates the city-owned venue, said he withdrew the proposal after getting feedback from finance committee members.

The Tennessean referred to the proposal as a “secret records plan,” writing that Powers Management “has [a] history of secrecy.”

Lombardi insisted that wasn’t his intent.

“You guys have known me for six years,” Lombardi told the finance committee of the Metro Sports Authority. “I’m not like that. My door is always open.”

The Tennessean noted that Lombardi is now working on a new proposal.

“We’re trying to protect the interests of the city,” Lombardi said. “It’s all about protecting the clients we work with, the promoters and the artists. It’s sensitive information. But we’re also trying to be transparent.”

Lombardi was unavailable for comment at press time.

A former arena manager wrote a letter to the editor of the Tennessean defending Lombardi’s proposal and urging the newspaper to be careful what it wished for.

“The financial terms of almost every contract … are different, and bringing to light what each entity pays is only going to create animosity toward arena management … and cause such events to look elsewhere, since many promoters, event producers and artists have no desire to have their contracts scrutinized by the general public,” wrote Tom Williams.

“I have yet to figure out how the public benefits from seeing how much Live Nation or AEG paid Powers Management to rent the building. … I urge The Tennessean and others who cry out for transparency to temper their actions with what’s truly in the best interest of the public.”