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USM Questions Past Virginia Beach Arena Vote

New Virginia Beach Arena

United States Management has raised questions about a prior vote on a Virginia Beach arena proposal, questioning whether officials correctly interpreted voting law. 

The specific vote under scrutiny from United States Management (USM) was made by the Virginia Beach City Council in October. On the fourth of that month, eight of 11 city council members voted for a proposal that included a modified funding model from USM. However, that was enough enough to allow the proposal to pass, as the motion required a ninth vote to record a needed supermajority.

USM is now raising questions about whether a supermajority vote was needed in the case, and whether a simple majority should have been applied. After the Richmond-based McGuire Woods, a law firm hired by USM, issued an opinion stating that a supermajority was not needed,  USM is voicing its concerns to Virginia Beach officials. More from the The Virginian-Pilot:

USM President Andrea Kilmer said in a letter to Mayor Will Sessoms on Tuesday that the company’s legal counsel thinks the city is misinterpreting the code.

 “We hope that you and the City Attorney will thoroughly analyze this matter to conclude that only 6 votes are actually needed,” Kilmer wrote. “Given the overwhelming support of City Council throughout this process, as well as that of the citizens and the business community within the City and the region, it is incumbent upon all of us to look for solutions to move this project forward expeditiously.”

City Attorney Mark Stiles said he received the opinion from USM on Tuesday, and his staff and outside law firm Hunton & Williams will review it over the next week.

“USM and their retained attorneys have questioned if a supermajority vote was required, and I am going to evaluate the information they provided in good faith and advise the City Council whether or not I believe their contentions have merit,” Stiles said.

At the time, one of the reasons it was believed that a supermajority was needed was because the proposal called for the city to lease land for the arena to USM for 60 years. In November, the council issued another vote on the arena, this one granting USM an additional 60 days to seek a loan for the project.

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