By way of Tom Humphrey, the Tennessean reports that some local Friends of Bill made nearly $5 million off the state for just taking out a mortgage on some property for a few years. Nice work if you can get it.

There's nothing particularly illegal or immoral about the deal, except maybe that Knox County had the land appraised too low for some reason, thus missing out on some tax revenue. And of course it all happened before Haslam took office, sort of, and besides, he doesn't know anything about it anyway.

What's most disturbing about the article, though, is this:

The state bought the building by tapping $87 million that it had previously budgeted for TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program for the poor. But that money was able to be shifted for other uses when the federal government boosted its share of Medicaid funding for Tennessee as part of the stimulus package.

If that's true, it's pretty outrageous. Never mind all the GOP hypocrisy about federal spending and the stimulus program. What about federal money intended to help low-income people get health care being diverted to land deals to benefit wealthy developers instead? It's too bad Pellissippi State's image will be tarnished by getting themselves dragged into the middle of all this.

bizgrrl's picture

No more taxes. Oh, wait,

No more taxes. Oh, wait, Tennessee needs more money to help out big business. Tax away!

R. Neal's picture

I also find it curious that

I also find it curious that the Knoxville News Sentinel missed this and that it had to be reported by the Nashville paper. Maybe the KNS tipped them because it was too close to home at the KnoxGOB downtown prayer meeting club.

The KNS reported on the purchase in 2010, but made it sound like the building was move in ready. Now the state says it needs $16 million more in repairs and upgrades after already spending up to $5 million to fix the roof.

Ironically, in comments on the 2010 KNS article, someone asked the simple question of who owned the property being sold to the state.

Local Citizen's picture

What's New?

Politicians have always used their positions to help their friends and financial supporters. This deal is just more obvious. Of course, none of them "knows" anything about the favors!

Average Guy's picture

Nothing speaks to open government better than,

"as long as he keeps it to himself."

Probably not another suitable site in that area, but the deal hardly seems open and not at all how it was originally proposed in 2010.

Elwood Aspermonte's picture

KNS had information on Haslam loan to Furrow

But they chose not to run it and chose not to link it to the non existing article regarding the Furrow sale of the builidng to the State of Tennessee. Books and records in Nantucket indicate the Haslam loan has not been repaid.

From all indications, Pilot apparently isn't buying up the Tennessean on Friday and giving it away to their customers each Friday. That is the perrogative of the Knoxville News Sentinel, which, in my opinion, routinely engages in ambiguous journalistic ethics and continually refuses to criticize any family member of their largest newspaper purchase.

KNS engages in a smear campaign against County Mayor Burchette while he is going through a divorce (no impact to taxpayers) while Knox County Trustee John Duncan has two employees sacked by the District Attorney, pleading guilty to facilitation charges, yet they don't bother to get in his face and find out what was going on. Don't even bother to interview or question the recent convictees.

McIlroy's newspaper is a disgrace and an embarrassment to anybody who reads newspapers from other communities besides Knoxville.

Sandra Clark's picture

CTE at Pellissippi

Betty Bean had a story in the Shopper-News a week ago, looking at the ongoing and potential programs at the new Pellissippi site. We were one question (from whom did you buy this building?) away from having this story.

Furrow has a pattern of buying and repurposing old buildings: the downtown post office, the PlastiLine plant on Emory Road,the Levi's plant on Cherry Street come to mind. -- s.

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