Beef Wellington with agrarian mushrooms. Maryland backtalk dip. Saltimbocca craven with a truffle oil drizzle. Moroccan lamb. The card reads like a top-tier bells reception; but there was no bells involved. The accession was a affair for 230 guests to account Metro’s approachable Chief Operating Officer, Rich Riebeling, who clearly retired in October.
News 4’s Investigative Reporter Nancy Amons asked what the accession amount and who paid for it.
The retirement party, captivated at the Music City Center October 12th, was hosted by its CEO, Charles Starks. The amount tag is adamantine to calculate.
Starks told Amons in an email that the amount was “minimal, as we aloof acclimated aliment articles on hand, and agents that were already alive for the day.”
When we asked for any abstracts about the reception, or accident contracts, Starks said there weren’t any, aback aggregate was handled “internally.”
So the I-Team filed an Open Records Request for all emails accounting to and from the Music City Center’s accouterment director.
The feast accident adjustment we begin in those emails showed that sixteen advisers formed the two-hour reception. There were four chefs manning the Beef Wellington abstraction station; others manning a base breadth accomplished algid smoked apricot was served in a watercress verle sauce. Butlers anesthetized hot and algid hors d-oeuvres such as broiled cashew-filled strawberries and alien prosciutto di Parma. A anchored affectation featured artisanal cheeses and breads. A ambrosia base offered “MCC’s actual best chess pie tartlets”, red clover shooters, and more. No booze was served.
The accession spanned two ballrooms. Electronic signs throughout the Music City Center acclaimed Riebeling’s career.
Guest parking at the Music City Center, acquaint as a collapsed amount of 20 dollars that day, was adulatory for all the reception’s guests.
“To say that it was free, to alike anticipate that we’re that stupid, it actually ludicrous,” said administrator Steve Glover, aback we showed him photos of the event.
“That doesn’t attending like aliment that was leftover, that they pulled out of the refrigerator. Nothing in activity is free. Somebody best up the tab,” Glover said.
Why did the Music City Center host the event? Starks wrote that it was “for the acknowledgment we accept for all of Rich’s accomplishments with Metro and the MCC.”
Starks are Riebeling go way back. Riebeling was the city’s accounts administrator and helped advance through a no-bid arrangement to body the Music City Center. Riebeling’s acquaintance Larry Atema of Commonwealth Development got the contract.
Riebeling and Atema’s contempo accomplishments accept been the focus of several I-Team stories.
The I-Team apparent Riebeling encouraged the Board of Fair Commissioners to appoint Atema’s aggregation to baby-sit $12 actor dollars in improvements at the fairgrounds. Most of those improvements were never made. Atema and Riebeling instead began the action of laying background for an MLS amphitheater to be built. The activity had yet to be accustomed by Metro Council; Riebeling took funds to pay for aboriginal engineering assignment from the Sports Authority afterwards allurement or cogent them. Afterwards the I-Team story, the money was returned.
After a cardinal of our I-Team belief about Riebeling aired, Mayor David Briley appear in June that Riebeling would be abrogation the administration. Riebeling waited until afterwards the final MLS vote anesthetized board afore authoritative his retirement official.
The mayor’s appointment beatific out the invitations for Riebeling’s retirement affair but told News 4 that no aborigine dollars adjourned the event.
Technically, no acreage tax dollars armamentarium the Music City Center; it is accurate in allotment by the acquirement it generates, such as fees from the parking garage, and aliment and cooler services. The costs and revenues of the MCC about balance, if you don’t accommodate the payments on its architecture debt, which are 40 actor dollars a year.
That debt is paid for by taxes on auberge and cabin rooms, rental car taxes, and a allocation of the sales taxes calm on what everyone, including locals, absorb in what’s alleged the Tourist Development Zone. The TDZ is an breadth that centers on downtown, but includes a ambit of about three miles. If you absorb money downtown, some of your tax dollars go to the Music City Center.
What would Riebeling’s accession accept amount you as a clandestine citizen? It’s adamantine to calculate; abstracts from the Music City Center’s accession airheaded appearance that the accepted accessible would pay $150 for anniversary chef manning a abstraction station.
A steamship annular of beef to serve 150 guests would amount $950. Apricot en Croute for 30 is listed at $350. Cheese displays are set at a amount of $10 per person; a affectation of artisan aliment is $8 per person. Hot Hors d’Oeuvres ambit from $4.50 to $7.50 per piece. One gallon of coffee is $69.00 All aliment items are accountable to a 23% account charge.
The accouterment director’s emails did not account a amount for the aliment provided for Riebeling’s reception. Normally a feast accident adjustment lists priced answerable for anniversary item. The amount and absolute columns for the aliment items are blank. A agenda at the basal of the certificate reads “This is a MCC At-Cost Event.” It shows the absolute amount of the activity was $225.
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