Pro Bono 

Jim Neal offers Metro legal advice

Jim Neal offers Metro legal advice

City officials have enlisted legendary Nashville attorney Jim Neal to help them renegotiate specific parts of the Metro Sports Authority’s 5-year-old contract with the Tennessee Titans.

“We have a very positive relationship with the Titans,” says Metro law director Karl Dean, “but there are several issues that the Titans and the city have been discussing for some time, and at some point I just came to the conclusion that I needed another perspective. I went to Jim Neal because I think he’s a great lawyer.”

Neal, one of the nation’s best-known defense attorneys, who rose to special prominence on the opposite side of the law-and-order spectrum as the special trial prosecutor of Watergate, is truly an attorney of national renown. As a lawyer on Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s staff, Neal, at the tender age of 31, was also the first to nail a conviction of Jimmy Hoffa.

But out of “civic interest,” Dean says, Neal has agreed to advise Metro officials without payment in its dealings with the Titans—at least until or unless the renegotiation becomes too onerous or time-consuming.

“If it becomes a burden, I’m going to bill,” says Neal, who’s agreed to help because, “I just think everybody’s got to give something back.”

As for the city’s contract with the Titans, the veteran attorney says he thinks “there are some problems that weren’t perceived at the time, and maybe having somebody have a look at it who’s not been involved in all that might help.”

Among the issues city officials are interested in negotiating with the Titans is that of the “special-use days” allowed for in the contract between the NFL franchise and the city. As it stands, the contract gives the city three such days a year to use Adelphia Coliseum for civic events that generate revenue earmarked to maintain the stadium.

The contract gives the Metro Sports Authority 50 percent of the profits from such events to be committed to maintenance of Adelphia Coliseum.

But Metro hasn’t been able to take any advantage of the special-use days, because the financial incentives aren’t attractive to promoters who otherwise would be interested in staging events at Adelphia. As a consequence, the city hasn’t been able to raise money it needs for Adelphia upkeep.

“It’s a very intricate agreement,” Dean says of the Sports Authority’s contract with the Titans. “Mr. Neal was willing to help, and he’s being extremely generous with his time.”


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