- Associated Press - Sunday, April 21, 2019

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - In a story April 21 about plans in Savannah, Georgia, to hire a management firm for a new city area, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the Savannah City Council voted in a closed-door session to delay the hiring. The vote April 11 occurred during a public meeting after the council met in a closed session to discuss the issue.

A corrected version of the story is below:

A battle over management of Savannah’s planned arena

A Georgia city’s plan to hire a management firm to operate its planned arena is being challenged by a competitor

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A Georgia city’s plan to hire a management firm to operate its planned arena is being challenged by a competitor.

The Savannah Morning News reports that Los Angeles-based Oak View Group was recently recommended for the job after it scored the highest among three proposals evaluated by city staff.

But the Savannah City Council voted April 11 to delay consideration after the second-ranked firm, Pennsylvania-based SMG, raised concerns about the selection process. Before taking the vote in a public meeting, the council met behind closed doors to discuss the proposal and hear a presentation from Oak View.

Groundbreaking for the arena is expected in the fall.

“We’re basically questioning how this entire proposal has been handled,” said Mike Vaquer, a lobbyist who is representing SMG.

On Thursday, lawyers for SMG said in a letter to the council that the April 11 meeting was an illegal executive session that Oak View group was allowed to attend.

SMG requested in the letter that before the contract is awarded, a public hearing for its appeal take place before the mayor and aldermen and for OVG’s proposal to be disqualified.

“In the event SMG is forced to pursue litigation, it intends to seek all damages and relief to which it is entitled under Georgia law,” Buckley wrote.

City officials said they cannot comment in detail on the matter since the contract is still open and because of the potential litigation, but Deputy City Attorney Jennifer Herman said the contract could be discussed privately during executive session as a real estate matter, which is permitted under open-records law.

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