The county is looking into hiring a commercial attorney to oversee the mall purchase leases.
At the county Financial Management Committee meeting Thursday night, commissioners discussed surveying the Three Star Mall property and hiring an additional lawyer. County Executive Terry Bell says he reached out to Moore’s Land Survey to get the mall property surveyed. According to Bell, Moore said they could do it in 35-45 days.
Bell also sent the purchase contracts to the current owner of the mall, but things are unable to proceed without a commercial attorney going over the leases.
“We are going to have to hire a commercial attorney to go over these real-estate leases to make sure exactly what we are getting into and that we are getting covered. Robert Bratcher doesn’t feel comfortable doing that,” said Bell. “We are talking to a lawyer in Chattanooga. We are going to have to hire someone to go over these leases.”
“Do you think the additional money we appropriated for this and other things will cover it?” asked Rubley.
“Now, I will tell you what he said. He said he was $750 an hour. He said you aren’t going to get anybody here. It will have to be somebody out of Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Nashville or someone from a big city. It won’t be someone local,” explained Bell.
Bell asked if the committee wanted to set aside additional funds for the commercial attorney. This needs to be approved soon so the attorney can go ahead and get started, but he said they could call another committee meeting if they needed to discuss it further.
“I do need to get this approved and when I get the contracts I will put him to work immediately,” said Bell.
“Well we know we are going to have to have a commercial attorney, so there is no sense in charging more for us to meet again,” said Commissioner Christy Ross.
Finance Department director Justin Cotten explained they have $100,000 extra from the allocated money to use.
“I wouldn’t ask you for more than $40,000 for the survey and the attorney,” said Bell.
“I thought you meant $40,000 just for the attorney,” said Commissioner Scott Rubley who was relieved to hear it would be used for the survey as well.
“If we have to do it, we might as well do it tonight,” said Commissioner Brad Hillis.
The committee passed a motion to approve $22,600 for the survey and $17,400 for the commercial attorney.
Executive assistant Jason Hillis pointed out that $17,400 would only be approximately $23 hours’ worth of work for the attorney.