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VOL. 44 | NO. 5 | Friday, January 31, 2020

Tennessee sues to recoup $1.2M incentive after plant closed

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NASHVILLE (AP) — State economic development officials have sued to reclaim more than $1.2 million in incentives awarded to a snack food company that committed to create 273 jobs in Tennessee, but shuttered the facility there after filing for bankruptcy and selling its assets to another company in 2017.

In its lawsuit this week in Davidson County Chancery Court, the state Department of Economic and Community Development said it's suing to recoup the grant money Pure Foods Inc. received in November 2015 for the acquisition of its Kingsport facility, plus interest.

Court filings say the company's assets were sold to Brimhall Foods Inc. in March 2017. Brimhall Foods, which is not targeted in the lawsuit, did not return email and phone messages requesting comment.

Another company, Anita's Snack Foods, took over the former Pure Foods site in August 2018 and broke ground on an expansion there in March, according to the Kingsport Times-News.

The state's contract with Pure Foods includes a clawback provision that requires paying back grant money and interest if the company didn't keep the facility up and running through January 2022.

The state had announced in 2015 that Pure Foods planned to establish its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing operations in Kingsport. The 88,000-square-foot facility on 35 acres represented a $22 million investment for the company, and was set up to produce nutrient-dense and low-fat specialty snack foods for markets primarily in the United States, Canada and Mexico, the state said.

Pure Foods opened its facility in January 2016 with then-Gov. Bill Haslam on hand. The company announced a temporary shutdown of the facility for restructuring purposes that October. Then it filed for bankruptcy in January 2017.

The state notified Pure Foods in a September 2018 letter that it was moving ahead with an effort to recoup the incentive money after the company's bankruptcy case was dismissed in March 2018. The state still hasn't received any money back from Pure Foods, the lawsuit says.

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TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0