NFL’s Carolina Panthers Owner Under Criminal Probe

York County law enforcement officials want to know if $21 million of public funding was misused.

The National Football League is contending with another major problem. David Tepper, the owner of the Carolina Panthers, is under criminal investigation by the York, South Carolina, Sheriff’s Office because law enforcement officials want to know what exactly happened with a planned Carolina Panthers practice facility and why Tepper stopped the project. Tepper may have misused $21 million in South Carolina public money in the ill-fated project. The criminal investigation is centering around “circumstances surrounding the transfer to, and subsequent use of public money“.

While there is an investigation taking place, York County law enforcement is trying to soften the blow against Tepper. “An investigation is simply an inquiry and should not create any inference that wrongdoing has been committed by any party,” York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson and Solicitor Kevin Brackett said in a joint statement which named Tepper and his company, GT Real Estate. Meanwhile Tepper and his company are also downplaying the probe. “This is a straightforward commercial matter that is being fully resolved,” GT Real Estate said in a statement. “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.” Part of the structure was built but it has been abandoned. The Panthers owner David Tepper real estate company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on June 2nd after having invested more than $175 million into the facility. York County decided to sue Tepper’s companies and the City of Rock Hill for at least $21 million because Tepper walked away from completing the Panthers’ practice facility and headquarters. Tepper and York County have reached a settlement in a lawsuit involving the unfinished project that was sold to politicians as an economic generator.

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