Commissioner names TEE Center 'alternative' manager after contract 'no-no'

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 First at Five / Monday, Nov. 5, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- If at first you don't succeed, try again ... with a different company? We catch up with members of the Augusta Coliseum Authority who say they are ready to bring business to the new TEE Center.

Constructions crews will be moving out soon. Augusta's new convention center is done, but there is still no management agreement.

"Well," said Commissioner Corey Johnson. "We are in negotiations again."

Even though the new exhibit hall is surrounded by the Marriott towers, city leaders may be turning to managers at the James Brown Arena to get things on the good foot.

"That's our alternative," Johnson said. "If we can't get a deal closed out this week, then we are going to have to put Global Spectrum in there to manage it on an interim basis."

"Whatever we need to do," said Coliseum Authority Chair Cedric Johnson. "We will be more than happy to do it."

The center is expected to lose more than $900,000 in the first year.

"You are going to lose some," Johnson said. "But when you look at the benefits that you get on the other end, that is how you balance it out."

Money is not the only issue.

"One of the main issues was the terms," Johnson said. "Fifteen years for a new facility like this was a no-no."

Coliseum Authority members agree.

"I would not give anybody a 15-year contract," said respected business owner and Coliseum Authority Member Brad Usry, who notes many marriages don't pass the 15-year test.

"Thank God mine has lasted 30 years," Usry said. "But some marriages don't last 15 years."

The city is now pushing for a five-year agreement and controls on controversial planned bonuses. After the embarrassment of losing the Georgia Chiefs of Police conference, some feel it's time to play deal or no deal.

"We don't feel like we should be canceling shows," said Cedric Johnson. "We really feel if we can help stand in and help we are willing to do that."

The Marriott contract goes before the commission this Thursday.

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