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Press Releases

Comptroller Audit Finds Questionable Expenses, Missing Cash at Clarksville-area HS Booster Club

Press release from the office of the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury; January 22, 2015:

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has revealed a number of concerns related to the West Creek High School Coyote Cheer Booster Club (CCBC). West Creek High School is part of the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System.

Investigators found that the booster club had a cash shortage of at least $1,699 and had questionable expenses totaling $56,458.

The cash shortage stemmed from various fundraisers in which the money collected was not reconciled with the amounts that should have been collected based on the cost and sales price of the items sold. The CCBC’s lack of accounting records also made it impossible to determine if all collections were deposited into the CCBC bank account.

The questionable expenses related to the CCBC not following its bylaws requiring accurate records of club meetings, reviewing bills, approving disbursements, and ensuring that collections were appropriately documented in the accounting records.

The CCBC ceased operations on July 31, 2014. The Comptroller’s findings and recommendations have been reviewed with the district attorney general for the Nineteenth Judicial District.

“Booster clubs are non-profit groups led by parent volunteers who raise money in support of school organizations,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “These groups are required to follow a financial policy that provides basic checks and balances to reduce the risks of fraud and theft.”

To view the investigation online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/

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Press Releases

TN Supreme Court Rules Gov’ts Must Compensate Property Owners for ‘Regulatory Taking’ of Property

Press release from the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts; August 18, 2014:

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that the State Constitution, like the United States Constitution, requires the government to compensate private property owners when governmental decisions, restrictions, or regulations take or interfere with private property interests.

The lawsuit was brought by Mack and Leann Phillips, who own more than 15 acres near Clarksville and who in 2010 sought permission to have the land subdivided. The Clarksville Montgomery Regional Planning Commission held a public hearing and then denied the request.

The property owners sought review of the Planning Commission’s decision from the Chancery Court but also filed suit in Circuit Court against Montgomery County, claiming that the denial of their request to subdivide the property amounted to a taking of their property for which Montgomery County owed them compensation. In legal terms, the property owners’ claim is known as a “regulatory taking” of property. The property owners asserted the denial of their request was based only upon the fact that their land lies in the path of a potential highway extension. The property owners based their claim on the Tennessee Constitution alone and did not rely upon the United States Constitution.

The property owners’ Chancery Court appeal from the Planning Commission’s decision remained unresolved, although such appeals should and normally do proceed quickly, but their state constitutional regulatory takings claim proceeded. The Circuit Court denied the County’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, but the County appealed. The Court of Appeals dismissed the regulatory takings claim, but the landowners then appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court reversed the dismissal. The Supreme Court explained that under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, property owners may seek compensation when government action results in a taking of property. Property may be taken, the Court explained, by an actual physical occupation or by government regulations or actions that interfere with a property owner’s use of the property. This latter type of taking is known in legal terms as a regulatory taking.

Until today, no prior Tennessee court had decided whether the State Constitution, like the U.S. Constitution, requires the government to compensate property owners for regulatory takings claims. Previously, Tennessee courts have addressed only physical occupation and nuisance-type takings claims. In its decision today, the Court discussed the similarities between article I, section 21 of the Tennessee Constitution and the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and held that the State Constitution protects the right of Tennessee property owners to receive compensation for a regulatory taking of property to the same extent as the United States Constitution.

The Court remanded the claim before it to the trial court to determine whether, on the facts of this case, the Commission’s denial of the property owners’ request to subdivide their land actually amounted to a regulatory taking of property under the Tennessee Constitution for which compensation is due.

Read the Opinion in Mack Phillips et al. v. Montgomery County, authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark.

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Business and Economy NewsTracker

Tire Plant will Create 1,800 Jobs In Clarksville

A South Korean company will bring 1,800 new jobs to Montgomery County, Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday.

“I want to thank Hankook Tire for its substantial investment in Tennessee and for the 1,800 jobs they’ll create in Montgomery County,” Haslam said. “The auto sector is a key industry cluster where Tennessee has a distinct advantage with more than 900 auto suppliers and manufacturers, and today’s announcement reinforces our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. officials were on hand at the Clarksville Corporate Business Park to announce the tire manufacturer will invest $800 million in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and create 1,800 new jobs in Clarksville.

“These jobs will bring millions in economic development and prosperity to Clarksville and Montgomery County, and Clarksville’s talented and dedicated labor force is beyond compare,” Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan said. “This is a perfect example of the extraordinary opportunities that are created when all levels of government, state, city and county, work together in collaboration with the private sector and economic development agencies.”

Founded in 1941 in Korea, Hankook Tire is one of the fastest growing tire companies in the world.

With approximately 20,000 employees and five research and development centers, Hankook Tire produces high performance radial tires at its seven manufacturing facilities in four different countries. Its products are available in more than 180 countries.

The U.S. plant in Clarksville will be the company’s eighth production facility and will be built on 469 acres, making it the largest tenant at the Clarksville Corporate Business Park.

The result will be a 1.5 million-square foot advanced manufacturing facility that will produce high-end performance tires. The company is expected to break ground on the new plant by the end of 2014 and begin tire production by 2016.

“This is an exciting day for Hankook and all of our employees, customers, and partners as well as the state of Tennessee and the city of Clarksville,” said Seung Hwa Suh, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Hankook Tire. “As our brand continues to gain recognition in the United States and demand for our industry-leading tire products continues to grow here, establishing a manufacturing facility in the U.S. further demonstrates our commitment to delivering high quality products and service to the market, and is the next natural phase for our continued growth.”

Tennessee’s automotive sector, the largest in the South in terms of employment, has led the state’s post-recession economic recovery having generated more than 12 percent of the state’s job creation since the recession and more than one-third of the manufacturing sector’s output growth since 2010. The automotive industry includes 910 companies employing 113,148 Tennesseans and investing $31.5 billion.

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Press Releases

TN’s Veterans Treatment Court Sees First Graduates

Press release from the Tennessee Courts System; August 29, 2013:

Tennessee held its first ever Veterans Treatment Court graduations this week, as eight people completed the innovative program designed to help veterans and active service members.

The graduations took place in the Clarksville courtroom of Judge Kenneth Goble, Jr. and in Memphis in Judge Bill Anderson Jr.’s courtroom.

The intensive veterans treatment program offers resources to veterans and active service members that may include counseling, regular court appearances, substance use screening, and group therapy. The courts are designed to support justice-involved veterans who may be struggling with issues related to their service or the return to civilian life, sometimes even decades after their service.

The courts assemble a team of interdisciplinary support that sees each participant through the various stages of the program. The team members mentor those in the program to ensure they are provided the appropriate resources to be successful.

Read more coverage of the graduations here:

Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

Memphis Commercial Appeal (subscription required)

For more information about how the courts work, see this article published last year by the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle.

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Press Releases

Clarksville Gets $626K Transportation Grant for River Trail Project

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, August 16, 2012: 

CLARKSVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer announced today a $626,360 transportation enhancement grant to Clarksville for a project that extends a trail along the Red River and completes a walkway in the downtown River District.

The grant funds Segment I of the Clarksville River Trail, the first of two sections of a multi-use, north-south trail segment extending from the merge of the Cumberland and Red Rivers and continuing north along the Red River for approximately 1,500 feet.

The project also completes a pedestrian walkway in the downtown River District by joining the city’s North Extension Riverwalk, including construction of the 12-foot-wide trail and installation of landscaping, benches and signage regarding points of interest and historical significance.

“This project will provide Clarksville residents and visitors with a significant alternative transportation opportunity while also enhancing the city’s downtown district,” Haslam said. “When complete, the project will create a great network of multi-use trails that connect key areas of the city and improve the quality of life for citizens.”

“Through Transportation Enhancement grants, TDOT has funded more than $270 million in non-traditional transportation projects,” Schroer said. “This program has assisted communities all over the state in their efforts to revitalize downtowns, highlight historic areas, provide alternative means of transportation, and increase opportunities for economic development.”

The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by TDOT. A variety of activities such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects are eligible for grant funds under the federal program.