- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee judge has rebuked Chattanooga and Hamilton County officials for the government’s role in the $500 million Black Creek Mountain development near Marion County.

Chancellor Frank Brown said Thursday there’s something “fundamentally wrong” with the secrecy and conflicts of interest surrounding the government’s involvement in the development.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (https://bit.ly/1q3mOyD ) reported that in approving the project, public officials relied on a now-discredited letter from an attorney. The letter indicated a $9 million road to the development met legal requirements to secure tax increment financing. The newspaper reports the attorney wrote the letter while he was being paid $50,000 by the developers.

The court also determined that because they violated Tennessee’s open meetings law, the officials’ decision to help the developers is likely void.

Brown’s ruling still left the project’s fate open.

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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