Mall withdraws CVB sponsorship request

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Mall at Barnes Crossing has withdrawn its sponsorship request from the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau after an attorney for the city advised that there was a conflict of interest.
Neal McCoy, the CVB’s deputy director, said Friday that John Hill with Mitchell, McNutt amp& Sams advised him that the $200,000 sponsorship request presented a conflict of interest because Jeff Snyder, the general manager of the mall, sits on the CVB’s board as a representative of the Community Development Foundation.
The request was made public at Monday’s annual board retreat for the CVB. Snyder left the room during the discussion.
The board members said that Cindy Childs, the mall’s marketing director, made a proposal the previous week that asked the CVB to sponsor a new information booth and visitors center inside the mall.
The board said it liked the idea of getting tourist information out to shoppers but delayed action until it could determine if there was a conflict of interest.
Said Snyder, “Initially we thought it was OK if I didn’t participate in the presentation or vote, but as soon as we got the opinion, we took the proposal off the table.”
He said the mall would try to find someone else to sponsor the information center.
McCoy said it is common for organizations and events to ask for financial sponsorships from the CVB. In the proposed budget for fiscal year 2011, the CVB has set aside $111,600 for event sponsorships.
The CVB also has money set aside for the Tupelo Furniture Market, the Elvis Presley Festival, the Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance and the Elvis Presley Birthplace.
McCoy said the board hopes to vote on the budget at its July meeting.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.