Backers of the Music City Center, the proposed new downtown convention center, have taken their fight online with a petition to block a Nashville attorney from consideration for the federal bench.
Kevin Sharp, an attorney with the Nashville firm Drescher & Sharp, is the focus of the petition. Sharp is also president of group called Nashville's Priorities, which is questioning the cost and need for the Music City Center.
Additionally, Sharp is one of several Nashville attorneys believed to have been submitted for consideration for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee. The open seat on that bench is being created by the retirement of Judge Robert Echols.
This is the same seat which Corrections Corp. of America's Gus Puryear was considered for in the past and has been an open for appointment for almost three years.
The petition was started by local public relations heavyweight Dave Cooley. Cooley, a former deputy governor of Tennessee, is president of Cooley Public Strategies and lists the Music City Center Coalition among his clients.
Speaking to NashvillePost.com, Cooley stated, "The Music City Center is the single most important economic development project in Nashville's history. It will help define our future. It is an understatement to say I am disappointed in Mr. Sharp's behavior. The petition speaks for itself. He should not be appointed to the federal bench. He has knowingly propagated false information and is using scare tactics, and that is unconscionable."
Asked of his working relationship with the Music City Center Coalition, Cooley stated that he did this petition independent of them because he "feels very strongly about the issue."
As of this morning, signers of the petition include well-known proponents of the convention center like Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau president Butch Spyridon, former Davidson County Clerk Bill Covington, restaurauteur Randy Rayburn and businessman Bobby Joslin.
Sharp addressed the matter of the petition with NashvillePost.com and said, "It’s unfortunate that Mr. Cooley and those he works for have taken what is a very important public policy issue for the citizens of Nashville and Davidson County to the level of personal attacks. However, while he and members of the Music City Coalition engage in the politics of personal destruction, I will continue to talk about what is best for our community. I have friends on both sides of this issue whom I respect very much and I hope to continue a serious dialog with them about the convention center."
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