MLS executives will not meet with Mecklenburg County officials during their visit to Charlotte next week, as a potential discussion has been scrapped.
A visit by MLS personnel to Charlotte is scheduled for July 18. It was initially anticipated that the county, in addition to City of Charlotte officials, would meet with MLS executives during that visit to discuss a proposed $175 million stadium that has been pitched by a group led by Marcus Smith as part of Charlotte’s MLS expansion bid.
The issue appears to relate to whether a meeting between Mecklenburg County and MLS was to be private. Per North Carolina law, if a majority of representatives–in Mecklenburg County’s case, more than four commissioners–attend the meeting, then it would need to be conducted in public. Some elected officials were reportedly concerned about the prospect of meeting behind closed doors with MLS officials, but the league is denying that it ever asked that the meetings be conducted privately. More from The Charlotte Observer:
On Wednesday, elected officials had said that per the MLS’s request, if these meetings aren’t private, they won’t happen. The MLS, however, denies having spoken with anyone in the city and county about the July 18 meeting agendas, and never asked that meetings be private.
Asked who requested private meetings, MLS4CLT, the group led by race track executive Marcus Smith, provided a statement that said the site visit was initiated by MLS4CLT, and that the group “has participated in several public hearings and remains committed to open discussion throughout this process.” The statement did not answer the Observer’s question.
In an email exchange obtained by the Observer Wednesday, some county commissioners said they are against private meetings. But Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said the MLS has requested that the meetings be private – which would mean without the presence of taxpayers and the media.
“I have not been involved in any way in that schedule, what the meetings are, who I’m meeting with,” MLS President Mark Abbott said in a call with the Observer. “Who would we talk to about this? I didn’t talk to anybody at the county about this. That’s ridiculous.”
The city is still expected to conduct a private meeting with MLS officials. Both the city and the county are still weighing whether to commit funds to the proposal.
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