Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Council members subpoenaed in eminent domain suit

By Nate Rau • THE TENNESSEAN • January 20, 2010 Members of Nashville's Metro Council will be deposed in the coming weeks for the upcoming eminent domain lawsuit between the city and one of the property owners inside the imprint for the convention center project. Six council members — Megan Barry, Emily Evans, Jim Forkum, Jason Holleman, Kristine LaLonde and Mike Jameson — were issued subpoenas by attorneys for Tower Investments. "I would presume, since I have no other relationship with Tower, that it would be related to council duties, and that would be related to whatever condemnation authority we approved," Evans said. The California-based company is challenging the Metro Development and Housing Agency's right to take its 5.66-acre property located inside the convention center imprint. "There's really not a master plan here," said Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowtiz attorney Joe Connor, who is representing Tower in its lawsuit. "We feel it's necessary to ask the council members questions concerning the resolutions that were passed as part of our defense." Tower believes the city has no right to take its property and has proposed to develop the land in conjunction with the $585 million convention center project, which was approved by council on Tuesday. "We don't believe MDHA has the right to take our land, and that's the basis for our defense," Connor said. Tower's case will be heard in Davidson County Circuit Court on Feb. 5. Council allocated condemnation powers to the Metro Development and Housing Agency in June with a 28-6 vote. Holleman and Evans both voted against the resolution. Barry, Forkum and LaLonde voted in favor of the resolution while Jameson was absent. Metro Legal Director Sue Cain confirmed she was aware of the subpoenas, but said she had no comment. Reporter Michael Cass contributed to this story. Nate Rau can be reached at 615-259-8094 or

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