Rock Hill, SC town breaks promises to liberal billionaire David tepper, owner of the National Football League (NFL) of Carolina Panthers. Specifically, the municipality is apparently unable to borrow the money it pledged for the economic mess of Tepper Command in York County – further pushing back the often-delayed project schedule.
Last Thursday (May 6, 2021), a particularly direct letter was sent by Mark Hart from GT Real Estate Holdings – an entity affiliated with the Panthers – to the York County Director David Hudspeth. In that letter, Hart revealed the difficulties Rock Hill experiences when it comes to issuing the promised Panthers Development Bonds – which includes a government-funded practice center for the team and offices of company for its leaders.
“While we continue to make progress in building the Panthers training facility and future prop development, unfortunately infrastructure funding remains at a crossroads,” Hart wrote to Hudspeth in the letter. , a copy of which was obtained by this medium. .
According to Hart, $ 225 million bonds should have been issued by the city no later than October 31, 2020. After discussions with the project promoter, this deadline was then extended to February 26, 2021. This loan should have been reimbursed by an increase in property taxes on local residents – and Rock Hill has agreed to forgo 100% of its tax revenue until the debt is paid off.
Did Rock Hill meet the second deadline? No …
“To date, the bonds have not yet been issued,” the letter said.
(Click to view)
According to my sources, Rock Hill is “over-leveraged” and simply unable to issue that debt – at least not without having to settle for crappy bond rates. In fact, even after the total obligation for the project would have been reduced by almost half – to $ 135 million – the city again was unable to obtain financing for the bonds at a competitive rate.
Wait a second, though … why is hart bothering the county about this issue?
“We are concerned that without the county’s help, the city will not get the $ 225 million in bond products envisioned by the interlocal agreement and other project agreements,” Hart wrote. “Not only do we believe that the county’s participation ensures that the necessary funds are secured, but by participating, the bonds will benefit taxpayers with a faster return on investment.”
Wait … are taxpayers getting a return on this investment? Because the last time I checked, this review was pure fiction.
Nonetheless, Hart wants the county leaders to step in and “engage with the city and the developer to discuss ideas and help getting the proceeds of the necessary bonds.”
“Until we reach $ 225,000,000 in bond products, there is a high risk that the necessary infrastructure goals will not be met, without which the existing city and county infrastructure could be overloaded. Hart wrote.
In addition to local incentives, South Carolina taxpayers are bombing at least $ 160 million on the Panthers deal – which was pushed by the governor Henry mcmaster and other “Republican” politicians. State money is used for income tax credits and “improvements” to infrastructure. Meanwhile, York County Council is extending a ‘fees in lieu of tax – or’ FILOT ‘) agreement with the Panthers that will reduce the tax rate on this property to four percent over the next four decades. .
The total value of this incentive? Good question… but between the city, county and state incentives (and federal money for one of the interchanges associated with this project), taxpayers are ultimately going to have to pay more than half a billion dollars.
Why are taxpayers being asked to pay a penny for this facility? That’s a good question … especially given the low investment in sports infrastructure projects for city, county and state governments.
DON’T MISS A STORY … REGISTER TODAY!
As I have often noted, Tepper is the richest owner in the NFL with an estimated net worth of $ 14.5 billion, according to Forbes. As I noted in a previous article, he could have paid for the state portion of this incentive program exclusively from the proceeds he received from the sale of his share of ownership in the Pittsburgh Steelers (which was a condition imposed by the league when it bought from the Panthers in 2018).
In fact, if the project is really as good of an “investment” as Hart seems to think … so why isn’t Tepper paying himself?
York County Councilor is leading this issue locally Bump Roddy, who is running for mayor of Rock Hill and apparently wants to embarrass the city’s current leadership for his tax ineptitude. Will Roddy’s political bet end up jeopardizing the project? Or does he intend to “come up to the rescue” and lead the way in getting the county to take on this debt?
Stay tuned …
As I have done since the very beginning of this debate, my outlet strongly opposes the Panthers’ multi-million dollar document.
“It’s a bad deal. Period, ”I wrote in March 2019.“ South Carolina should pass the Panthers… and tell Tepper that if he’s welcome to move to Palmetto State, he won’t be paid for. bring them here. ”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will folks is the founding editor of the medium you are reading now. Prior to founding FITSNews, he was press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has a LOT of hats.
WANNA SOUND OFF
Do you have something to say in response to one of our stories? Or a problem that you would like to proactively solve? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Email your own letter to the editor (or guest column) HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Do you have a technical question or a problem to report? CLICK HERE.
Banner: @ Panthers