Well, we think we’ve been proven right.  This week, bankruptcy court ruled in favor of Beale Street manager John Elkington and essentially apologized to him on behalf of Memphis.  We had two posts in 2010 predicting the collapse of any lawsuit against Elkington, perhaps the most maligned manager ever hired by city government to develop a largely defunct district – Beale Street.  In addition, we had predicted earlier that Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s lawsuit attacking Tennessee’s inane Voter ID requirements may ultimately be his finest hour.  He got a split decision from the courts, but when the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld his position that Memphis library cards are legitimate forms of ID to show at the polls, he got a victory made altogether sweeter by the extremists foaming at the mouth over a decision that was reasonable and logical.

Here’s the posts about John Elkington:

Audit’s Winning Hand Should Fold City’s House of Cards

John Elkington played his trump card last week, and after several years of innuendoes, rumors and charges, it’s hard to conclude anything except that he’s won the high-stakes game of money and reputation that characterized the $6.4 million argument about Beale Street management.

Memphis’s most respected accounting firm, Watkins and Uiberall, shredded a $750,000 “forensic audit” by Parente Randolph, the Philadelphia firm hired by City of Memphis, to prove that Mr. Elkington’s company, Performa Entertainment, owed the city millions.  In a letter to John Ryder, receiver for Beale Street Historic District, Bill Watkins wrote: “It is my professional opinion that Parente Randolph’s report is not forensic, is not an audit, and its purpose is hard to discern.”

In other words, the conclusions by Parente Randolph were directed by city lawyers to justify their preconceived opinions.  Those lawyers made more than $2.5 million as city government threw everything but the kitchen sink at Mr. Elkington to get him to fold and settle.

To read more, click here.

Searching for an Apology for Wasted $3 Million

Well, we called it back on March 1.  City of Memphis finally folded its hand against John Elkington and settled with his management company.

Back in our earlier post, we asked where Mr. Elkington goes for an apology for the city’s legal saber-rattling.  More to the point, where do Memphians go to get an apology from former Mayor Willie W. Herenton for spending $3 million on legal and accounting fees – unsurprisingly, with politically-connected firms – to chase the manager of Beale Street?

We also called it when we said that despite the facts, Mr. Herenton would continue to rant if a settlement is reached, a prediction that he fulfilled yesterday with his latest outburst masquerading as a news conference.  He also suggested that the entire issue should be investigated by federal investigators, but since questions in the federal building have been raised about the massive professional fees and tracking them, we recommend that he just drop that idea.

To read more, click here.

Memphis Finest Hour: Attacking Voter ID

The City of Memphis lawsuit to overturn Tennessee’s Voter ID law is the Wharton Administration’s finest hour.

In the face of the most widespread voter suppression campaign since the days of Jim Crow, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton might seem the logical person to protect the voting rights for a majority African-American city.  After all, if the right wing extremists in the Tennessee Legislature had a target in mind when they passed the law, it was likely the people in the southwest corner of the state.

And yet, Mayor Wharton could have just left this challenge for someone else.  After all, Tennessee is a solidly red state now and votes from the blue city of Memphis are no threat to change things.  In this way, the Voter Photo ID Act could be seen primarily as an exercise in hubris by the Republican Majority on Capitol Hill and as sound and fury signifying nothing.

But “it was the principle of the thing,” according to Wharton advisers in City Hall.  Because of it, the city attorney’s office filed a lawsuit in Chancery Court after the judge in a federal lawsuit said that identification cards from the Memphis Public Library and Information Center do not satisfy the state voter ID law.  However, the judge also said that it did not make sense that an expired hunting license from another state can be used as a valid ID but a Memphis library ID is invalid.

To read more, click here.