AP

Panthers owner David Tepper scrutinized in criminal probe

Dec 2, 2022, 9:36 AM | Updated: 2:19 pm

FILE - Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper watches during warm ups before an NFL football game bet...

FILE - Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper watches during warm ups before an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. A sheriff in South Carolina has announced his deputies started a criminal investigation into whether Tepper or his company misused public money meant for a failed practice facility. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman, File)

(AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and his real estate company are the focus of a criminal investigation to see if they misused any public money in their failed effort to build a practice facility for the NFL team in South Carolina.

The York County Sheriff’s Office said state agents and local prosecutors are aiding its investigation, and that the probe does not mean that any crime happened.

“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 Thursday night that named Tepper and GT Real Estate, the company created to oversee the construction project.

Tepper’s company denied any criminal wrongdoing and suggested the timing of the announcement might be meant to disrupt a settlement the team reached with York County to repay more than $21 million, an amount roughly equivalent to the sales tax money the project received to improve roads around the facility.

“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 statement from Tepper’s GT Real Estate said.

Tepper, a hedge fund manager who is one of the NFL’s wealthiest owners, and the Panthers announced plans for an $800 million practice facility, team offices, sports medicine complex, hotels and entertainment near Rock Hill in 2019.

Both local and South Carolina leaders cheered the investment offering incentives and relishing getting a piece of the NFL team away from North Carolina and Charlotte, where the team plays its games about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away.

But after less than two years, Tepper’s company abruptly stopped work on the facility before its steel superstructure was finished, and declared bankruptcy. Work continues on an interstate interchange promised by the state, and Tepper’s company is trying to sell the land in the busy, growing region.

Tepper’s company blamed Rock Hill for failing to issue bonds and said the city and other governments failed to come through with funding and other promises.

York County and Rock Hill have denied those claims and what Tepper’s company is responsible for is being contested in federal bankruptcy court.

York County announced shortly after the bankruptcy that Tepper’s company took $21 million of sales tax money that was supposed to be spent on roads and spent it on a “failed vanity project.”

“Rather than cover the ballooning project budget themselves, the Tepper Defendants took money from York County and its taxpayers,” the county said in a lawsuit.

The criminal investigation was announced only days after the Panthers and York County announced they settled that lawsuit. As of Friday morning, the settlement had not been filed in court or approved by a judge.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

10 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

10 hours ago

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

15 hours ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

17 hours ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

3 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Panthers owner David Tepper scrutinized in criminal probe