Mayor Questions Non-Profit in Charge of Beale St. Landing

Mayor Questions Non-Profit in Charge of Beale St. Landing

With the Beale Street Landing project long overdue and over budget, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said Wednesday it's time to take a closer look at the non-profit in charge.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - With the Beale Street Landing project long overdue and over budget, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said Wednesday it's time to take a closer look at the non-profit in charge.

"It's time for a re-examination," Mayor Wharton said.

The Riverfront Development Corporation is leading the project, which was originally slated to cost $27 million, but the cost now ringing in at $43 million.

"They are at the helm over there, and they are going to be held accountable," the Mayor said.

On Tuesday, Bennie Lendermon, head of the RDC, asked a city council budget committee for more money, arguing the non-profit's funding hadn't been increased since 1999.

Lendermon's request was met with several pointed questions from council members.

"Beale Street Landing is one of those places where I think a lot of council members are shaking their head," said council member Lee Harris. "When are we going to stop this madness?"

"Maybe its brightest days are ahead for Beale Street Landing, but certainly the days so far have been mixed and cloudy," he added.

Mayor Wharton also raised questions about the salaries RDC employees get, including Lendermon.

According to the RDC's 2011 tax filing, Lendermon received $215,432 in base compensation and $15,157 in other compensation.

"You look at that salary and you ask the question, are we getting more for the higher salary then we would have gotten for a lower salary if we had kept it in house in the city," said Mayor Wharton.

"We are going to have to take each position, and say are they more productive then someone in the city?"
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