Paying More Than Asking Price, Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt Spends $654,500 with Campaign Donor to Expand Parking for Communications Center

Sumner County’s Executive Anthony Holt executed a deal in which he spent $654,500 to purchase – from a campaign contributor – additional parking for the County’s Emergency Communications Center, which has been in the news over the past several months for ongoing operational problems.

County Executive Anthony Holt’s purchase of the 17.35 +/- acres between Airport Road and Gateway Drive in Gallatin, adjacent to the Emergency Communications Center, triples the property size.

Sumner’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC) is a consolidation of the 9-1-1 dispatch services for police, fire and medical services that were previously handled separately by the County as well the cities of Gallatin, Hendersonville, Millersville, Portland and Westmoreland, which opened in July 2017.

The ECC project has been beset with problems from its outset, including cost overruns and delays in the construction phase of the project.

The problems – most recently reported on in The Portland Sun – are related to the daily operations of the center including high turnover of dispatchers and the resignation of the director and deputy director. The functional result of these issues is that the various emergency service agencies, fire, law enforcement and ambulance, are not getting the information they need to respond appropriately to Sumner County residents’ calls.

According to the meeting minutes of December 2018 and January 2019 ECC Executive Committee, comprised of all of the city mayors, the county executive and other emergency services personnel, and chaired by Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown, are working with the Center’s Operations Committee trying to figure out how to solve the problems after a year and half in operation.

Meanwhile, County Executive Holt initiated the purchase of 17.35 +/- unimproved acres, according to the deed, adjacent to the ECC on Airport Road in Gallatin. With the ECC itself sitting on 8.82 acres, the land for the facility is now tripled in size.

Holt Presents False Information to County Commission Committee

The County Commission’s General Operations and Budget committees in August 2018 allocated Holt $4 million for “Capital Projects.”

The list dated August 6, 2018, included 11 projects with estimated costs published for just two of the projects totaling $328,145. There was no indication of how the remaining $3,671,855 would be allocated across the remaining nine projects and no questions were asked by either of the Committees at the time the list was presented and approved.

One of the items on the list was titled “Parking lot EMS/EMA/ECC – 255/253 Airport Rd. – coordinating engineering design and geotechnical in coming months.”

The report County Executive Anthony Holt gave to the Emergency Services Committee less than a week after the land purchase was that the cost was $500,000 for 18.7 acres, in direct conflict with the deed he executed which clearly states the purchase price of $654,500 and the acreage of 17.35 +/- acres. .Click to enlarge

The deed purchasing the property, described as 17.35 +/- acres for $654,500, was executed by Holt on October 31, 2018. That equates to a per acre purchase price of $37,723.

Less than a week later, Holt reported to the Emergency Services Committee on November 5, 2018, about the purchase. According to the minutes, “County Executive Anthony Holt disclosed that he negotiated and closed on the purchase of two parcels of land contiguous to the Emergency Communications Center on Airport Road.”

The minutes continue, “Mr. Holt stated that the property owner offered the County a purchase price of $35,000 per acre on the 5 and 13-acre tracts, totaling 18.7 acres. The final price was approximately $26,738 or $500,000.”

Since the deed was signed by Anthony Holt just days earlier, the report he made to the Emergency Services Committee was false. The false information touched upon every aspect of the purchase and the report to the Committee, including the total purchase price, the acreage and the price per acre.

In fact, Holt reported that he had negotiated the price from the $35,000 asking price to a $26,738 purchase price.  In actuality, the price per acre exceeded the asking price at $37,723.

While the property, like all in Sumner County, is undergoing a five-year reappraisal process in 2019, the 2014 appraised value was $310,000. The property was last sold in 2005 from Charles Haynes to James G. and Nancy D. Hodges for $452,562.

According to Holt’s year-end 2017 campaign financial disclosure statement, he received campaign contributions totaling $3,000 from James and Mack Hodges, both of Portland construction contractor Hodges Group.

Given the wording of the item on the capital projects list, “Parking lot EMS/EMA/ECC – 255/253 Airport Rd. – coordinating engineering design and geotechnical in coming months,” it appears that investment beyond the $654,500 is planned in order to convert what is currently open land into parking, although Holt’s capital projects list does not include any estimated costs.

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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter with The Tennessee Star.








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2 Thoughts to “Paying More Than Asking Price, Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt Spends $654,500 with Campaign Donor to Expand Parking for Communications Center”

  1. How does the paper like being called a liberal, fake news outlet from our corrupt county executive?

  2. Rob Dickson

    Holy has always seemed crooked. Good job Sumner county