Everyone has to pay.
Thats what an attendant at the FedEx Forum parking garage told a federal inspector who, unbeknownst to the attendant, was looking for a free parking spot while sniffing around for skullduggery in what has come to be known as Garagegate.
The attendant was more right than he or she could have known. The Flyer has learned from sources that a federal investigation of the phony parking garage/bus terminal was underway at least two weeks ago, well before City Council members called for an investigation and Wednesdays subsequent announcement that the FBI was looking into the matter.
And the investigation looks like the real deal, not a matter of going through the motions. Heads are likely to roll in local, state, and federal government, and indictments are quite possible. A strongly worded federal report released weeks ago gets a second look in next weeks Memphis Flyer, and we tell you who dropped the ball. Theres plenty of blame to go around, from Mayor Willie Herenton to MATA director Will Hudson and capital projects boss Tom Fox to former city attorney Robert Spence to bumbling bureaucrats in Nashville and Washington D.C. to the Public Building Authority and the greedy Grizzlies.
For two years now Memphians have been listening to the PBA boast that FedEx Forum was built on time, within budget, and beyond expectations. Notice though, that nobody said anything about within the law. In the sorry three-year saga of the parking garage, it appears that not one single person in a position of authority had the guts and integrity to simply say do the right thing.
See next weeks Flyer for details. Its a story of breathtaking incompetence, greed, stupidity, and a climate of waste and corruption you wont want to miss. Willie Herenton may be training for a mock fight with Joe Frazier, but hell have a far more serious fight on his hands in Garagegate. And Tennessee Waltz prosecutors, U.S. Attorney David Kustoff, and the FBI will look like chumps if they go after legislators grafting a few thousand dollars and turn a blind eye to malfeasance that cost the city of Memphis $6 million.