Judge says she cannot approve multimillion settlement over failed Panthers facility

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — A judge said she cannot approve the latest settlement plan in the bankruptcy case involving the failed Panthers practice facility in Rock Hill.

She was expected to make a decision in court Wednesday.

If the judge had approved the settlement, York County would get back more than $21 million of taxpayer money spent on the project. This is in addition to the $20 million proposed settlement with the City of Rock Hill, and $60 million that would go to contractors.

Panthers owner David Tepper’s company, GT Real Estate, would pay another $60 million to settle with contractors.

However, the judge said she could not approve the settlement. She took issue with third party releases that would keep creditors from pursuing legal claims against third parties. The judge called the releases unnecessary.

The judge told attorneys she’s open to suggestions on how to move forward, and they ultimately decided to come before the judge, possibly with a new proposal, Thursday afternoon.

GTRE filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June. Since then, the City of Rock Hill, York County and several contractors have been fighting to get back money they said they invested in the project.

GTRE recently negotiated several agreements in the case. Court documents said at some point after approval of the agreement, the practice facility site would be transferred to the city.

Under the settlement, York County would drop all complaints against David Tepper and his companies. Tepper and his entities, including GTRE, acted in good faith and the county is satisfied, York County officials said last week.

People living in the area are hoping for a resolution in the bankruptcy case, and want something to be done quickly with this unfinished building.

“The most important thing is finding good use of that structure, that area, for the community, because that’s usually what it’s all about,” Regan Bugajski said.

During that hearing, an attorney for Rock Hill said under the agreement, the city could pay up to $23 million before taking over the property there.

Channel 9 has reached out to the city and all entities involved. There was no comment from any of them Wednesday.

(WATCH BELOW: Rock Hill votes to move funds to complete road from I-77 to canceled Panthers facility)

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