What’s in a Naming Rights Deal?

A Cumberland County contract that was inked without proper approval may go through, anyway.

County commissioners this week directed the county attorney to negotiate toward a deal with Spirit Broadband for naming rights to an amphitheater behind the county courthouse, the Crossville Chronicle reports.

Last year, Spirit Broadband closed a $32,000, eight-year deal with former County Mayor Brock Hill, who state auditors have faulted for failing to get the commission’s approval. A key county committee voted in October to pull out of the agreement, prompting Spirit Broadband to threaten a lawsuit.

This week, some commissioners worried about legal fees that could top $100,000. One commissioner maintained that allowing the deal to stand would be “turning a blind eye to state law.”

The issue has proved a sticky wicket.

“We have a legal contract,” another commissioner said. “It’s not smart business to pay our attorney to fight something that he drew up.”