Lawsuit Filed Seeking Information On Legal Ruling On Aetna Mountain TIF

Friday, February 01, 2013

A Chancery Court lawsuit has been filed against the City Industrial Development Board (Bond Board) seeking information on a legal opinion involving tax increment financing (TIF) for a major project on Aetna Mountain.

The lawsuit was filed by retired planner Helen Burns Sharp, who has been closely following the TIF application and who opposed it at several public meetings.

The City Council, County Commission and Bond Board approved a $9 million TIF for the Black Creek group that plans a major residential development with a town center on the huge tract above Cummings Cove in Lookout Valley.

The funds were designated for construction of an improved road up the mountain along with a main sewer line.

The Bond Board approved the TIF with the stipulation that a legal opinion be issued stating that the Black Creek group request met state requirements for TIFs.

TIFs allow a developer to issue bonds that are later paid off through a portion of the taxes generated by the project. The Black Creek group said if the project fails to generate the taxes, then it would be required to repay the funds.

The suit, filed by attorney John Konvalinka, says Ms. Sharp on Nov. 6 asked for public records related to the legal opinion. It says Ms. Sharp was provided a copy of a letter dated Oct. 31, 2012, from George H. Masterson of Bass, Berry & Sims, an attorney for the Black Creek group.

The complaint says a second request for records was sent Dec. 5, 2012, to City Attorney Mike McMahan. The suit says there was no response to this request.

The suit says Ms. Sharp then sent letters to individual members of the Bond Board asking if they had gotten any correspondence about the Black Creek TIF.

On Dec. 12, 2012, Ms. Sharp was provided a second letter from the firm of Bass, Berry & Sims, it was stated.  

She said she was told by City Attorney McMahan that any other documents related to the TIF were subject to attorney-client privilege.

Another request for records relating to the TIF was sent Jan. 9. The suit says there has been no response to this request.

Attorney Konvalinka said all of the requested records fall under the Tennessee Open Records Act.

He said the city "has willfully refused to disclose the public records requested by Petitioner, even though Respondent knows that the records contained therein are public."


Many Waldens Ridge Scenes Featured In Stokes Picture Book

A number of early views of Waldens Ridge are among the rarities found in the Stokes Photo Collection. There are many photos of the roads up the mountain showing streetcars, wagons and early autos. There are scenes at Rainbow Lake, Falling Water Falls, Signal Point and other scenic spots. Several photos are included of the Signal Mountain Hotel. The more than 700 photos ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon Dies; 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

A 24-year-old man who was shot at the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. on Wednesday at 1:21 p.m. has died. He was identified as Kenny Breylon Hall. Residents said they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  Later Wednesday, two people were shot at the Washington Hills Recreation ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Dear Friend Luther

One sunny morning in June years ago, the renowned radio icon Luther Masingill was on his way back to the WDEF studios on South Broad Street when he stopped for a red light and noticed a young couple in a car idling next to his familiar light blue Ford pickup. “What caught my eye was a buck-toothed boy eating a banana in the back seat,” he explained in an aside to that day’s lunchtime ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Stays Alive In State Volleyball

SMYRNA, Tenn. – As the old saying goes, It ain’t over til it’s over. That appears to be the philosophy for the Signal Mountain volleyball team as they beat the Harpeth Lady Indians in the opening match here at Stewarts Creek High School in the second day of the state tournament. Contrary to other reports in Chattanooga, the Lady Eagles had a letdown in their second match on ... (click for more)

South Greene Ends Boyd-Buchanan's Bid For State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Tears flowed like spill waters through the Chickamauga Dam locks. Players sobbed. Mothers cried. Grandmothers, as well. It was a tough ending to Boyd-Buchanan’s volleyball season. The Lady Bucs (33-16) fell to South Greene, 3-2, at Blackman High School and was eliminated from the TSSAA Class A state tournament on Thursday. The set scores ... (click for more)