Dirty Deals

Mike Ross

It has become painfully obvious that Doyle Arp will, with no hesitation, throw the citizens of Loudon County under the bus if it will benefit his developer friends. Especially when it comes to developer Mike Ross. The Rarity Bay tax give away and the TRDA law suit are good examples.

But as the old saying goes, you never know what you will find when you start turning over the rocks. Allow me to share one dirty deal.

Normally this would probably not be a story of interest but given his close association with Doyle Arp and Arp's never ending escapades to help him out, it becomes a story. As we learned last week in the story about Arp's attempt to manipulate the county's legal defense in the case of TRDA vs Loudon County , TRDA maintains that any land that has ever been TVA/TRDA land will forever be exempted from county regulations i.e. zoning, codes enforcement, adequate facility tax, etc. These lands were originally owned by TVA before being turned over to TRDA management which in turn have been sold to private owners. Then comes along a developer like Mike Ross who has figured out a way to help himself with the aid of the government. Here's how he did it.

Before TVA finally stopped giving big developers lake front property, Ross had been one of the biggest benefactors of the land hand outs. That's where Ross got a lot of the property which now makes up Rarity Pointe. Also included in the Rarity Pointe development was a little over 200 acres of private land that Ross had bought. 

So, the dilemma facing Ross at Rarity Pointe was, his TRDA land would be exempt from Loudon County regs but the 200 acres of private land would fall under the county's jurisdiction. For Ross this was unacceptable. With the help of Ron Hammontree, executive director of TRDA, a plan was hatched that would fix Ross' problem. Ross quit-claimed his 200 acres of private land to TRDA then TRDA turned around and quit-claimed the same property right back to Ross essentially now making the 200 acres of private land former TRDA land which would exempt it from Loudon County control. All the deed swapping took place on the same day. In fact at the same minute of the same day. This is absolutely governmental abuse at it's worst.

I am confident that when the federal government set up TRDA it was never meant to be used in such shady deals. But when there are government officials and individuals who are determined to subvert the system, things like this will continue to happen.