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SC law enforcement agencies investigate failed Panthers headquarters

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson began an investigation into the use of public money by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and his company, GT Real Estate Holdings. The company was created to build the Panthers training facility in Rock Hill that ultimately failed.

The sheriff’s office is looking into whether any laws were broken during the deal, but said the investigation does not imply that there was any wrongdoing done by any party.

The Attorney General, Solicitor Kevin Bracket and the State Law Enforcement Division partnered with the sheriff’s office to provide additional resources and assistance.

“We will work together to ensure that all relevant information is gathered so that a fair and just outcome can be reached,” said Tolson and Brackett in a joint statement.

Debates over the fumbled half-finished structure that sits off Mount Gallant Road will be tossed around for years. But just as a resolution appeared in sight, this twist has emerged.

GTRE said in a statement late Thursday night that the commercial matter is being resolved, and funds handled by the county were within the terms of the contract. York County and GTRE also just reached an agreement in a bankruptcy case, lawyers said.

GTRE said in the same statement the announcement on the settlement with York County was, “somehow undermined by politically motivated leaks.” The settlement fully compensates the county and settles the claims related to GTRE’s bankruptcy case, GTRE stated in the release.

Jamil Douglas roots for the Cowboys but was excited for the Panthers headquarters and practice facility. He said he’s disappointed in how we got here

“I just hate it happened and I wish things would have worked out differently,” he said.

“I would say that maybe, maybe not who knows, politicians and private development they can be intertwined significantly,” said Rock Hill resident Sarah Key.

Key said she finds the investigation very interesting. She just hopes a new tenant takes over the site to bring jobs and activity to York County.

“I do believe somebody is going to come in and fulfill that economic impact,” Key said.

Under the terms of the yet-to-be approved settlement, York County would recover $21.1 million to cover their investment and interest.

GTRE statement:

“It would be unfortunate if the recently announced settlement between GTRE and York County were somehow undermined by politically motivated leaks. The timing of these leaks is all the more curious in light of this settlement.

“This is a straightforward commercial matter that is being fully resolved. The underlying disputes arise under contracts that were jointly negotiated by the parties and are publicly available. The funds paid by the county were handled consistent with the terms of those contracts.

“The settlement fully compensates York County and settles all its claims related to GTRE’s bankruptcy case. To this end, $21.165 million has been escrowed for months to reimburse the County with interest.”

State Law Enforcement Division statement:

“SLED opened an investigation on Nov. 7, 2022, into the transfer of public funds from York County to GTRE and/or it’s affiliates to include David Tepper, Appaloosa Management, Tepper Sports Holding and DT Sports Holding.

“SLED was requested to investigate by York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson, York County Solicitor Kevin Brackett and Attorney General Alan Wilson.

“This joint investigation with the York County Sheriff’s Office is ongoing, as such, no additional information is available at this time.”

Joint statement from York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson and 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett:

“An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the transfer to, and subsequent use of public money by the Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and GTRE, the company created to oversee the construction of the Panthers training facility, was initiated by the York County Sheriff to determine whether any laws were violated during that process. The Attorney General, Solicitor Kevin Brackett’s Office and the State Law Enforcement Division have partnered with us to provide additional resources and assistance and we will work together to ensure that all relevant information is gathered so that a fair and just outcome can be reached.

“An investigation is simply an inquiry and should not create any inference that wrongdoing has been committed by any party.

“This office will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”

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