Council member wants to cancel contract with controversial firm

Commonwealth has been at center of multiple recent dustups

AUTHOR Stephen Elliott  |   Nashville Post

A member of the Metro Council wants to cancel a project management contract with a controversial company.

District 19 Councilmember Freddie O’Connell introduced legislation this week that would direct the termination of Commonwealth Development Group’s $8 million project management contract with Metro. The Metro Council will consider the bill for the first time at its meeting next week.

The company, owned by Larry Atema, was at the center of several recent WSMV investigations, including one that found that the company occupied rent-free office space at the Music City Center and another related to management costs at the Fairgrounds Nashville. Atema is a friend of Metro Chief Operating Office and former Finance Director Rich Riebeling.

“I think Commonwealth has become one of the symbols of the trust gap that exists between the general public and Metro, and I think we need to explore that,” O’Connell said.

Atema could not be reached for comment.

The contract did not go unnoticed at the time. Outgoing Metro Councilmember Emily Evans called it “cronyism” and unnecessary.

%d bloggers like this: