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MLS, Charlotte meeting cancelled amid ‘transparency issues’

In an odd twist, a meeting scheduled for Tuesday between Mecklenburg County and MLS officials has been cancelled.

After back and forth conversation about whether meetings between the two groups relating to Charlotte’s MLS bid should be held privately or publicly, Tuesday’s meeting has been cancelled, reports the Charlotte Observer. There is apparently much confusion between the two groups, as Charlotte claims that MLS desired the meetings to be held behind closed doors, while MLS denies such claims and states that they haven’t spoken to anyone about the meeting being private.

“If MLS wants to talk to us about the use of public money, the public has a right to hear,” Republican Commissioner Jim Puckett wrote in an email. “In fact I am NOT paid to make their case to the public they are.”

County Manager Dena Diorio stated that no meeting was on the agenda for Tuesday “based on the original direction to me from MLS4CLT that there was no interest in a public meeting.”

“If we cannot accommodate their request that the meeting not be public then the meeting won’t be held.” added Diorio.

State law claims that if a majority of council members or commissioners attend a meeting, meaning either more than four county commissioners or more than five council members, it has to be open to the public. Elected officials claim that the league is attempting to skirt these laws ahead of the meeting to discuss potentially millions in public funding for a stadium. MLS president Mark Abbott refuted the claims, stating that the league never requested the meetings be held in private.

“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.”

Not all city council members are opposed to some closed-door meetings though, as long as they fall within the law. If any fewer than the aforementioned numbers attend a meeting, it can be held in private without public involvement.

“Before the city reaches a point where we can make a decision, there is a lot of information we need,” Republican city council member Ed Driggs said. “If members of the staff can get that information, I’m willing to look at it later.”

The meeting has not yet been rescheduled.


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