ROCK HILL, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Documents WJZY requested show the city of Rock Hill paid David Tepper’s company, GT Real Estate Holdings, LLC, $20 million and roughly $51,000 just weeks before the Panthers say Rock Hill missed a critical $225 million commitment.
As Queen City News poured through 1,500 pages of documents, we learned more about who was involved in this deal and how convoluted it was.
Diving into the financial details of the contract between Rock Hill and the Panthers, the city by “reasonable best efforts” was required to issue bonds by no later than February 26, 2021. The agreement clarifies it’s not a guarantee there would be a buyer for any of the bonds.
The Panthers stopped construction alleging Rock Hill missed that $225 million deadline.
Now, Queen City News is learning what that money was going toward: $117 million was earmarked for items like landscape elements, utilities site clearing, sidewalks and more. The remaining amount was for expenses like design fees, off-site roadway improvements, the Manchester Park Road connection, the preservation of a light rail option and 5G technology.
The 1,500 pages also revealed Chester County had skin in the game. An agreement between Chester and York Counties shows the two were coordinating to develop a joint county industrial and business park.
The 2020 agreement indicates Chester County could have generated revenue from businesses in that area. The copy of that contract provided to QCN, however, was not executed.
York County eventually sued both Rock Hill and the Panthers alleging the city missed that bond commitment, and the Panthers used $21 million in tax funds, meant to expand Mt. Gallant Road, for other project expenses.
York County, in its lawsuit, requested a jury trial, so if the two sides don’t settle out of court, we could learn much more about what went wrong in this deal.