SC senator calls Tepper ‘arrogant narcissist’ after Panthers deal terminated

Real estate company for Panthers says leaders trying to ‘obscure their failures’
South Carolina Sen. Dick Harpootlian had strong words at the State House on Tuesday after the Panthers terminated a deal to move their headquarters to Rock Hill
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 11:04 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2022 at 11:05 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A South Carolina senator isn’t mincing words when it comes to his thoughts on the collapse of plans to move the Carolina Panthers to Rock Hill. Sen. Dick Harpootlian spoke at the State House on Tuesday about the issue and Panthers owner David Tepper.

“I have full faith and confidence in Harry Lightsey, who’s running the Department of Commerce again, not to let this kind of chicanery happen again,” Harpootlian said. “Obviously the Governor got hoodwinked by Tepper and his director of commerce.”

Harpootlian has long been critical of the deal to offer tax incentives for the Panthers to build a new headquarters and training facility in Rock Hill. More than a month after stopping construction on the project, the Panthers terminated their agreement with the city.

“The fact that he has ripped off the state and put us in a position where we built an $80 million interchange to nowhere - the people of York County and the city of York have been disadvantaged and he’s just going to walk away,” Harpootlian said. “That’s just what arrogant narcissists do.”

Construction started on I-77 in York County in the fall of 2021 for a project that developers called the “Panther Interchange,” to allow access to the proposed facility.

While Harpootlian said the state was “hoodwinked,’ the Panthers have a different account of how the deal fell apart.

GT Real Estate, the agency behind the plans for the $800 million facilities, said in February the city of Rock Hill failed to make payments for the project. GTRE says on Mar. 18, they issued a notice giving the city 30 days to cure its default - which they say didn’t happen.

“It is unfortunate that some recently decided to conduct a misguided, destructive public relations campaign to obscure their failures,” GTRE said in a statement Tuesday.

However, the city is continuing to insist it met all requirements for the agreement and say they weren’t given required documents to issue the bonds.