A South Carolina county is suing companies owned by Panthers owner David Tepper for more than $21 million over the imploded efforts to build the team’s new headquarters in Rock Hill, David Newton of ESPN reports.
The suit was filed late Thursday, less than a month after the project was canceled and Tepper’s real estate company, GT Real Estate Holdings, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on the project.
York County wants Tepper to repay “improperly utilized’’ funds the South Carolina county spent toward building infrastructure around the site.
The city of Rock Hill also is being sued along with Tepper’s Appaloosa Management LP, DT Sports Holding LLC and Tepper Sports Inc.
York County claims it has been “damaged” by the breakdown between Tepper’s company and Rock Hill. It seeks reimbursement for the $21 million plus interest, and other costs, including lost tax revenue and economic benefits, damages (actual, exemplary and punitive), increased construction costs and attorney’s fees.
“The Tepper Defendants directed the misappropriation of $21 million of statutorily restricted, public funds from their stated purpose, the expansion of a roadway in York County, and improperly utilized these funds on their failed vanity project, the Carolina Panthers’ headquarters and practice facility,’’ the suit stated, via Newton. “Rather than cover the ballooning project budget themselves, the Tepper Defendants took money from York County and its taxpayers.’’
Tepper has a net worth of $16.7 billion, according to Forbes magazine. He spent more than $175 million on the project, which was paused March 7 after Tepper’s companies alleged Rock Hill had failed to come up with $225 million in promised bonds for the 240-acre development.
The team walked away from the project April 19.
The Panthers did not immediately respond to a request from ESPN for comment.