Oct 26 2009
12:45 pm

Larry Van Guilder has an article this week that takes a look at the taxpayer-funded entity, The Development Corporation, and asks the question - why does this entity have so much money when Knox County is in debt about $700 million, schools are underfunded and space in local industrial parks is going begging? Does the Development Corporation deserve this level of funding given their poor history of results? Are their giant salaries justified?

The two highest paid executives at TDC are Todd Napier, executive vice president, and Robin Holt, director of finance and administration. Both received substantial pay increases in 2008. Napier’s salary rose to $144,519, a $49,000 hike. Holt earned $90,818 in 2008, approximately $24,000 more than in the previous year.


Nonetheless, with the recession continuing to erode local government revenue, many taxpayers might look askance at not only the healthy pay hikes, but the $31 million in assets under TDC’s control. That’s a sum which could easily finance one or two new schools in Knox County, and one could argue that without a solid educational system, a community’s chance of recruiting new industry drops dramatically.

Van Guilder doesn't mention the big cheese's big salary - because it's technically not paid by the Development Corporation, it's paid by the Knoxville Chamber (wink, wink). As of 2007, the latest timeframe for which figures are available, the partially-taxpayer funded Knoxville Chamber pays Dev Corp CEO Mike Edwards well north of $270,000, Randy Vineyard over $163,000 and Rhonda Rice $175,000, including benefits. I'm sure they got fat raises in 2008 as well.

Good gig if you can get it. Especially during a recession and especially if you are accountable to basically no one. What kind of return are we getting for these huge salaries? Is it time to dissolve the Development Corporation?

gonzone's picture


This is some great investigative journalism Larry! With all the major media we have in town it still takes a person who actually cares about something more than their own salary and "good hair for the camera" to do a job right.

Now will someone please pick up this story and promote it?

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"

jbr's picture

Some big league journalism.

Some big league journalism. Nice work.

That whole Midway Road/TDC/MPC etc. and the background of those organizations would be good fodder for a 60 Minutes story.

ShannonSz's picture

yes, larry has had the guts

yes, larry has had the guts to tell the truth and investigate claims and actualy print these facts....thanks for posting Lisa and printing Larry

sugarfatpie's picture

Nice one! Shouldn't the

Nice one!
Shouldn't the Chamber have to disclose salaries on a regular basis?

I'd like to
-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

knoxvegas99's picture

Thanks all, for the

Thanks all, for the props.

Larry Van Guilder

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