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York County officials investigating use of public money by Tepper, GTRE regarding failed facility


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Dec. 1

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - The York County Sheriff’s Office released a statement Thursday evening announcing an investigation into the transfer of and use of public money by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and his real estate company.

York County and the City of Rock Hill awarded millions of dollars to Tepper and GT Real Estate to build a modern, state-of-the-art practice facility and team headquarters in the area, but those plans were scrapped and construction was halted this spring.

In a joint statement, Sheriff Kevin Tolson and 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett said that the investigation “is simply an inquiry and should not create any inference that wrongdoing has been committed by any party.”

Rock Hill and York County taxpayer dollars used during the failed project have been a point of contention during the GTRE bankruptcy proceedings, although the sides have recently come closer to settling.

Both Rock Hill and York County each contributed more than $20 million to GTRE during construction of the project even as the $225 bond deal stalled. The bonds were never issued, signaling the end of the partnership.

A WBTV Investigation in September on the failed Panthers-Rock Hill practice facility and headquarters raises questions about whether the project was doomed from the start. The investigation found the amount of bond money agreed to by Rock Hill was far more public investment than other similar projects and simultaneously sidestepped key oversight steps.

A complaint filed by Rock Hill claimed that time and again GT Real Estate refused to backstop the bonds. Ultimately, GTRE agreed to back up to $7.5 million worth of the $225 million in bonds. Despite that, the parties moved forward with the project even as Rock Hill accused the GTRE of failing to provide crucial information predicting the revenue from the project that would end up paying back the bonds.

The full statement reads as follows:

“An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the transfer to, and subsequent use of public money by the Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and GTRE, the company created to oversee the construction of the Panthers training facility, was initiated by the York County Sheriff to determine whether any laws were violated during that process. The Attorney General, Solicitor Kevin Brackett’s Office and the State Law Enforcement Division have partnered with us to provide additional resources and assistance and we will work together to ensure that all relevant information is gathered so that a fair and just outcome can be reached.

An investigation is simply an inquiry and should not create any inference that wrongdoing has been committed by any party.


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Federal judge approves Tepper company’s bankruptcy settlement, YCSO investigation continues

Dec. 16

YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - The battle over the Panthers failed headquarters project in Rock Hill has officially come to an end.

A federal judge approved the bankruptcy settlement for David Tepper’s company, GT Real Estate, on Friday.

As part of the settlement, Tepper’s company will pay York County more than $20 million for the project.

The City of Rock Hill will get the title to the land, and the contractors who were supposed to complete the project will be awarded $60 million.

Following the judge’s approval, GT Real Estate issued the following statement:

“From the outset, GTRE sought to ensure all legitimate claims were processed as fairly and quickly as possible and to achieve the project’s orderly and safe wind-down. We are pleased that the Court has approved our comprehensive plan of reorganization, which paves the way to resolve and satisfy GTRE’s creditor claims.”

The judge’s approval comes just two weeks after York County officials launched an investigation into Tepper and GT Real Estate’s use of public funds, and just a week after the county approved the settlement.

When asked for comment on Friday, the York County Sheriff’s Office, which is conducting the investigation, said that “this agreement was reached with [the] County government and not the Sheriff’s Office and does nothing to affect the current investigation in to the possible misuse of public funds.”



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