Business owner faces criminal charges for allowing massive tire dump
Published 3:36 pm Friday, July 22, 2022
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Criminal charges have been filed against the business owner who created a massive, illegal tire dump in downtown Elizabethton.
Timothy Sherrill Zimmerman, of Johnson City, has been charged with aggravated criminal littering for his role in allowing discarded tires to amass at his former business, Betsy Used Tires and Batteries, 332 West Elk Ave.
Tim Horne of the Carter County District Attorney Office confirmed the charges have been filed but declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.
City officials had been working since January to have the tires removed from the business, and a municipal court judge had levied a $50 per day fine for not removing the tires.
“As of 6-17-22, the tire issue has not been resolved … and has gotten much worse, with the pile dramatically increasing in size and spilling over onto an alley right of way and Tweetsie Trail property owned by the city of Johnson City,” the affidavit reads, adding that the portion of the pile on Tweetsie Trail property was about 4 feet wide by 4 feet deep and 8 feet tall.
“Photographic and video evidence shows Mr. Zimmerman on multiple occasions driving a red Chevrolet truck registered to him onto the property with loads of tires with either his employees or family throwing them onto the pile.”
Aggravated criminal littering is a misdemeanor charge and if convicted Zimmerman could face fines of $2,500 to $4,000, in addition to the fines incurred through municipal court for failing to remove the tires.
According to the affidavit, the building was leased to Sherrill Zimmerman, father of business operator Tim Zimmerman.
The younger Zimmerman operated the business at that location until June 30, when building owners evicted him from the property. The property owners, Barbara and Fred Zeidan, are undertaking the cleanup process themselves.
“It’s an unfortunate situation for the property owners,” said Jeremiah Tolley, city fire marshal, adding that the Zeidans will bear the expense of the cleanup.
“I don’t know what they will be paying, but I had received a rough estimate earlier … and it was around $30,000,” Tolley said.
Tolley said the contractor at the site this week estimated “there are 10,000 to 12,000 tires at this time, including what was inside the building.”
The Zeidans operated a gas station at the location and, when they retired, decided to lease the building to Zimmerman for his tire business. “It’s definitely been hard on us as property owners,” Barbara said in June. “This has really impacted our health dramatically.”
Tolley said city officials had been searching unsuccessfully for a way to help offset the expense faced by the Zeidans. “Everybody has been looking for something, but we haven’t really found anything …”