Jaguars, City Of Jacksonville In Dispute Over EverBank Field Operations Contract
The Jaguars have "unilaterally decided they want to keep SMG running EverBank Field and other city entertainment facilities, setting up a legal fight" with the city of Jacksonville, according to Timothy Gibbons of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. According to the contract between the team and the city, the two entities "are supposed to jointly decide who runs the stadium." After SMG and Global Spectrum each submitted facility management proposals earlier in the month, the city's CFO and deputy chief administrative officer "were supposed to sit down with" Jaguars President Mark Lamping and rank the responses. However, Lamping "did not show up to the one meeting of the subcommittee held last week," and instead sent the city a letter Thursday "formally notifying the city that SMG was its choice." Jacksonville General Counsel Cindy Laquidara "immediately sent the team a letter charging it with defaulting on its contract." Under the contract, that "starts the clock running on a 45-day period during which the situation can be rectified." The Jaguars "did not explain in the letter why they went with SMG." But the team said that "doing so would save the city" more than $1M a year. Gibbons noted the bids "are not yet public, so that figure cannot be verified." SMG spokesperson Michael Munz said that the Jaguars’ decision to keep SMG "reflected the company's cost-cutting approach in its bid." Munz: "It's clear that they recognize the significant savings SMG offers the city." Gibbons wrote the team's letter "surprised Global Spectrum" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/26). Jaguars Senior VP/Communications Dan Edwards said, "We would not characterize this the way it has been portrayed. We have followed the letter and the intent of the RFP to notify the city." Laquidara said, "The reason you send out a default letter is so they can call the city and we can clear it up" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/27).