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.


              FILE - Construction personnel work on the Carolina Panthers' practice facility Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Rock Hill, S.C. A sheriff in South Carolina has announced his deputies started a criminal investigation into whether Panthers owner David Tepper or his company misused public money meant for a failed practice facility. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
            
              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

Associated Press

New California oil well ban put on hold for voters to decide

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s new law banning new oil and gas wells near homes, schools and other community sites has been put on hold until after voters decide next year whether to throw it out, officials announced Friday. Opponents of Senate Bill 1137 gathered more than 623,000 valid voter signatures to put a referendum […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an ina...
Associated Press

Florida lawmakers to meet next week on Disney, immigration

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers will meet next week to complete a state takeover of Walt Disney World’s self-governing district and debate proposals on immigration and election crimes, as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to leverage national political fissures ahead of an expected White House run. Republican leaders of the Legislature, in coordination with […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Johnny Thai, 11, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a pediatric vaccine clinic for chil...
Associated Press

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Children in California won’t have to get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools, state public health officials confirmed Friday, ending one of the last major restrictions of the pandemic in the nation’s most populous state. Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the policy in 2021, saying it would eventually apply to all […]
20 hours ago
Part of the 988helpline.org website is photographed Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. A cyberattack caused a ne...
Associated Press

Feds say cyberattack caused suicide helpline’s outage

WASHINGTON (AP) — A cyberattack caused a nearly daylong outage of the nation’s new 988 mental health helpline late last year, federal officials told The Associated Press Friday. Lawmakers are now calling for the federal agency that oversees the program to prevent future attacks. “On December 1, the voice calling functionality of the 988 Lifeline […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Workers at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., walk by a Nissan Altima sedan on May 15, 2012....
Associated Press

US board clears path for mini-union vote at big Nissan plant

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Fewer than 100 employees out of the thousands who work at Nissan’s auto assembly plant in Tennessee can hold a vote on whether to form a small union, the federal labor board has decided. The ruling Thursday by the National Labor Relations Board overturns a June 2021 decision by one of […]
20 hours ago
A person gambles as betting odds for NFL football's Super Bowl are displayed on monitors at the Cir...
Associated Press

Super Bowl prop betting increasing in popularity

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jay Kornegay was behind the counter in 2004 when someone approached with $5,000 to bet on the Super Bowl but had no idea how to decide. The man, not a regular sports bettor, thought for a few moments and decided to put it all on the Carolina Panthers to score exactly […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Panthers owner David Tepper scrutinized in criminal probe