Carter County Tomorrow files for dismissal of county’s complaint

Published 8:40 am Monday, February 29, 2016

The Carter County Tomorrow (CCT) and First Tennessee Private Industry Council, Inc., (PIC) filed for dismissal of the charges brought against them by Carter County on Wednesday.
The county owns the Workforce Development Complex (WDC), which is subleased to seven entities and has vacant space for additional occupants. PIC was the original lessee, which CCT Chair Richard Tester said operates under the umbrella of the CCT. The lease was signed for an additional 17 years in 2012 to give the CCT additional time to pay the remainder of dues on the lease.
The county complaint questions the validity of this lease agreement and the existence of the PIC.
The motion to dismiss the complaint argues that the county fails to state claim upon which relief can be granted and fails to join necessary parties.
It says the complaint fails to identify the non-parties that have legal interests, referencing seven sublessees at the WDC. Additionally, it states the complaint fails to mention Citizens Bank which advanced the loan on the property.
The dismissal documents also state that Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey and two commissioners participated in proceedings of the board, including the signing of the new lease in 2012.
Humphrey said he was unaware at the time that the board was not in compliance with the state, and also was not privy to the complexity of the arrangement between the PIC and the CCT when he signed that document.
“Once the legislative body voted in the affirmative to approve the lease, as chief executive officer, I had no choice but to sign the lease,” he said.
Primarily the dismissal argues that the complaint is negligent by not naming involved parties in its drafting.
The sublessees identified in WDC Director Kim Eggers’ documents are the Alliance for Business and Training, Inc., Carter County Board of Education, East Tennessee State University, Johnson County Adult Education Program, Tennessee Board of Regents on behalf of Northeast State Technical Community College, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 538, and Telamon Corporation.
Humphrey said the county highly values those tenants.
“At no point in time have myself or any member of the county government wanted to take a stance against those tenants, we want to maintain an ongoing relationship with them, and at no point in time would we harm that relationship,” said Humphrey. “They are important, vital parts of our community. We want them there; we do not want to hinder their occupancy of that facility.”
Humphrey said an executive session will be on the agenda for the next commission meeting scheduled Monday, March 21 at 6 p.m. The county has 30 days to submit a response to the dismissal.

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