BRISTOL, Tenn. — The city of Bristol, Tennessee has incurred nearly $20,000 in legal fees from its ongoing lawsuit aimed at making the owner of the former Raytheon property remove nearly 400,000 waste tires stored in the otherwise empty industrial building.
At its meeting tonight, City Council will vote whether to approve the payment of $19,404.52 to the law firm Hunter, Smith & Davis for legal representation it provided from October 2018 through June 2019 in the lawsuit against property owner Ted Cox and his company, Reclaimed Resources.
The city’s policies require that purchases and payments greater than $10,000 to vendors be approved by council.
Bristol Tennessee City Manager Bill Sorah previously told the Bristol Herald Courier that the tires stored in the building at 100 Vance Tank Road pose a major fire hazard. The city issued its first notice of violation against Reclaimed Resources on Dec. 29, 2016, and took Reclaimed Resources to court in 2017, but little appears to have changed.
An injunction filed on April 23, 2019, ordered Cox to remove at least 33,333 tires by May 8 and continue to do so every 30 days from that point until all tires had been removed.
The most recent filing in the lawsuit between Cox and the city, dated Sept. 5, is a motion by the city that Cox and his business show why he should not be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with the April 23 injunction. In the motion, the city also states that despite being on the property since April, Cox has not made a good faith effort to remove the tires.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation imposed a fine of almost $500,000 against him in January, saying the tires violate state code and ordering him to begin removing the tires.
Cox filed an appeal in February, and Kim Schofinski, deputy communications director for TDEC, said the appeal is currently being litigated in the Administrative Procedures Division of the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office.
Additionally, since 2017, Cox has not paid taxes on the Raytheon property to either Sullivan County or the city, and the combined owed taxes currently total $148,117.12.