De Ja Vu- Sweetheart land deals.

The Hwy 321 school board land deal is not the first of it's kind. Back in the nineties another land deal to rival the 321 deal took place. Many people may not remember this one. Below is a flyer that was circulated at the time.

Are sweetheart land deals just a way of life around this neck of the woods? Just remember former Lenoir City Mayor Charlie Eblen's words, which he immortalized, "We do things differently around here."  

The taxpayers buy the farm … Were taxpayers “ripped off”?

County Elections will be held May 5,1998 Primary and Aug. 6, 1998 General. The Taxpayers Alliance is a non-partisan group interested in accountability of taxpayer money. We hope this issue will promote positive dialogue among ALL Candidates and allow voters who must make a choice to decide who is best suited to manage taxpayer money. Do you remember something about old Mac Donald had a farm; and on his farm he had a duck- ei-ei-o? Well, this is a better story. Mr. Headlee, County Superintendent of Schools, had a farm and on this farm he had a huge house, a swimming pool, and a very large barn. Loudon City officials  and Loudon County officials bought Mr. Headlees’ house for $315,000 and they also purchased 52.262 acres of land for $637,503 for a total sum of $1 million dollars. Officials gave the OK to the City of Loudon Fire Department to burn the Headlee $315,000 house to the ground and pay $6000 to have the remains of the house hauled off to the dump except for the chandelier that was given to Mr. Headlee by Ted Randolph and the Blairbend Committee. A bid was awarded to Robert Harrison, a Loudon City appointee to buy the large, two story barn for $10. County executive George Miller was authorized to handle the Headlee deal.

Officials then sold that same land 21.62 acres to John Deere for $270,280.87 or $12,713 per acre for a net LOSS to the taxpayers of $300,000 plus! Is that the type of government officials you want to represent you? These people tax YOUR property, and turn around and buy property with YOUR tax dollars, and burn it to the ground; and sell the property for less than they paid for it. Whatever happened to using the house for a training center or temporary headquarters for new industries as stated in documents to state officials? What about the promises from the industrial recruiter of $294,000 yearly revenues to help payback the industrial debt within 3 years? The amount would come from future sales and taxes from industry that would buy the remaining acres. We were also told the property taxbase would be greatly enhanced; John Deere’s 1997 tax bill was $25,542. Boy, do the taxpayers ever ei-ei OWE on this sweet deal! Does this impress you as being accountable to the taxpayers? Why would County and City officials pay more than double the amount of your hard-earned money per acre than John Deere paid Mr. Headlee for a portion of the same farm?