A special events producer addressed the Mobile City Council on Tuesday about dealing with "incompetence and manipulation" from the management of Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The city and the Mobile County Schools reached an agreement over the summer that places ownership of the stadium with the school system. However, the sale is incomplete and is not expected to close until November 28.
Eugene Gilbert told the council he has worked to bring the Mobile Original Battle of the Bands to the stadium every year and said the fundraiser had poured millions into local bands. The Milestone Marketing and Distribution Group, out of Atlanta, has been producing the event in Mobile since 1995.
The city's stadium manager, CJ Drinkard, is no longer managing the stadium, but Gilbert said he has been consulting with him for an event that may not happen. He said he was startled to find out Drinkard was not working for the stadium, and now he wants compensation.
"Due to the fact that we feel we were manipulated by a city of Mobile employee, we are looking for some level of relief, some level of sponsorship so that we can bring this great event to Mobile once again," Gilbert said.
The Battle of the Bands is scheduled for December 3, but since the city will close on the stadium before then, city attorney Ricardo Woods said the city will be working on locking down the stadium at that time. Woods said the city will continue to have talks with the school system to iron out the details of the transition.
"We will continue to have conversations with them to see what we can do dealing with the school board and dealing with the city, but right now, we don't have any contractual obligations, nor do we have any employees over there," said Woods.
Woods pointed out that no contract has been signed or payments have been made for the event.
Gilbert said his company has never asked for a dime to put on the fundraiser.
"We did not make payment because what Mr. Drinkard was doing, it was just so incompetent," Gilbert added. "We were trying to find a way to make it happen, but we've invested thousands of dollars in this event, thousands of dollars, and we just want to bring some resolution as soon as we can."
The Ladd-Peebles Sports and Entertainment Complex is the largest outdoor venue on the Gulf Coast.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected].
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.