Injunction filed asking for stay for City's second reading ordinance approving sale of former Allen Bennett property

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, December 9, 2016

• Lawsuit alleges secret deal

An injunction hearing is scheduled Monday to hear a request from JBM Leasing LLC to stay Greer City Council’s second reading on Tuesday of Ordinance 34-2016, authorizing the sale of the former Allen Bennett Hospital.

The injunction is alleging Unfair Trade Practice by City Council. It will be heard Monday at 2:15 p.m. in Greenville County 13th Judicial Court by Judge Scott Sprouse.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday, JBM offered $2.1 million the City was seeking and removed all contingencies with the exception of a clear title requirement on Nov. 22. JBM also alleges a first offer was accepted by another bidder for $2.1 million before the first reading of the ordinance, prohibiting JBM from making its increased offer to be considered at the ensuing executive session to discuss a contract and economic development.

JBM alleges it increased its offer to $2.2 million the next morning with an additional $150,000 to be donated to the City for public park refurbishment. The company also alleges the named defendants must allow fair competition and must sell to the party that makes the highest and best offer.

The City of Greer routinely makes it agenda public on Friday for the following Tuesday’s council meeting. Steve Owens, city spokesperson, said the ordinance would be posted for a second reading.

City Council has scheduled a public forum at 5 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the sale of the former property.

The forum will also be an opportunity for Mayor Rick Danner and City Council members to address a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the City of Greer by JBM Leasing LLC challenging the right of the City to make an alleged secret deal for the nearly 10-acre property.

JBM Leasing is the owner of Nissan of Greer at 14125 E. Wade Hampton Blvd. It is the plaintiff alleging the city is selling the former hospital complex site to an undisclosed purchaser for at least $250,000 less than the property value on the open market. JBM wants to build a state-of-the-art Nissan dealership on the property, according to the lawsuit.

City Administrator Ed Driggers issued a statement Friday and also posted on GreerToday’s Facebook page:

“The City of Greer has great respect for its business community and the integrity with which it conducts city business. We look forward to disproving in court unfounded and factually inaccurate allegations by JBM Leasing.

“Greer City Council chose to enter into a contact to sell the former Allen Bennett Memorial Hospital Property at its Nov. 22 meeting. An offer from JBM Leasing was not selected and JBM was informed of council’s decision that evening. JBM chose to increase its offering price the day after council committed to sell the property to a JBM competitor and obviously was unhappy with council’s decision. The city transacts its business with transparency and believes it is important to honor business agreements that have been made in good faith,” concluded Driggers’ statement.

Driggers, Mayor Rick Danner and Executive Director of Greer Development Corporation Reno Deaton were also named in the lawsuit.

Deaton deferred comment because of an ongoing legal issue.

Danner has not responded to GreerToday.




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