NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Fairgrounds Nashville director announced on Tuesday she’s contracting with a new race track promoter while sidestepping questions about why the contract wasn’t being put out for bid.

There was also elusive answers about why the Fair Board is cutting electric power to some buildings on the grounds.

Nashville Electric Service began cutting off the power to the older buildings at the fairgrounds on Monday. These buildings are now vacant after functions moved to the new expo buildings.

With the MLS stadium project stalled, why turn off the power now?

“When you have an empty building, it’s for safety reasons,” said Ron Gobbel, who oversees the stadium construction project at The Fairgrounds Nashville.

“Well you don’t want somebody, just a vacant building, doesn’t need to have the power on,” Gobbel said when asked about what safety reasons.

The group Save Our Fairgrounds said there are no real safety reasons to cut off the power. They say the Fair Board is just trying to rush the demolition process.

Laura Womack, Director of The Fairgrounds Nashville, would not answer questions from News4, only answering, “I’m going to refer you to Holly.”

Holly McCall, the spokesperson for The Fairgounds Nashville, was not present at Tuesday’s Fair Board meeting.

Mayor John Cooper hasn’t signed the demolition contract to remove the buildings. Cutting off power is a step that would be taken before demolishing the buildings. There’s a lawsuit pending against the stadium and the mayor has questions about what the project will cost.

Last month the board canceled the contact with long-time racing promoter Tony Formosa because he was behind in his rent payments.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Womack announced she had a new promoter and was working to finalize the contract, which sidesteps Metro’s bidding process.

When asked how a contract with a new race promoter could be signed without a request for proposal, Womack replied, “I am going to refer you to Holly.”

After the meeting, McCall said legally the Fair Board can sign an entertainment contract without putting it out for bids.



Nancy Amons is an award-winning member of the News4 Investigates team. She has been breaking stories in Middle Tennessee for more than 20 years.

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