A federal judge has approved a proposed $20 million bankruptcy loan from a David Tepper-owned company to another Tepper company to help fund bankruptcy related to the failed Carolina Panthers Rock Hill headquarters project , SC
Judge Karen Owens of the U.S. District Court of Delaware approved the financing loan Friday morning that will allow DT Sports Holding LLC to lend the money to GT Real Estate, according to court documents reviewed by McClatchy.
The judge’s approval allows the money to be used for bankruptcy expenses such as legal fees, site security, and other expenses. But the order does not say whether South Carolina and North Carolina creditors who claim to have lost up to $90 million will be paid as the bankruptcy progresses.
That $90 million includes $41 million in City of Rock Hill and York County taxpayer dollars, and tens of millions more than contractors claim are owed.
David Tepper is the billionaire owner of the Carolina Panthers.
DT Sports Holding is described in testimony and court documents as the parent company of GT Real Estate.
GT Real Estate Holdings is the company created by Tepper to be the owner and developer of the York County site which was to be the headquarters and training facility of the Carolina Panthers. The project was hailed for including retail and office space and was expected to be an economic boon to South Carolina and the region.
GT Real Estate declared bankruptcy on June 1. Construction halted in March following a dispute between GT and the Town of Rock Hill over funding.
Disagree over money
The judge’s approval came after lawyers for Tepper’s companies and creditors argued Wednesday and Thursday in court hearings over whether the loan was an insider argument.
Those opposed to the loan argued that it would give Tepper companies too much leverage in handling requests for money from the failed project. A lawyer for the general contractor told court hearings on Thursday that it was unclear whether creditors would recover much, if any, money.
Testimony and court documents show that approximately $282 million was spent before the project was shut down. The Carolina Panthers spent $163 million on loans and DT Sports spent another $60 million.
Future of Rock Hill site unknown
What will happen to the 240-acre site in York County along Interstate 77 remains unknown.
Two real estate companies requested information about the property, court documents and testimonials. GT Real Estate is “seeking pitches” on the property, documents show.
The next bankruptcy hearing is scheduled for July 20 in Delaware bankruptcy court, according to court records. Then, on June 22, Owens will hear arguments from creditors who want the case transferred to South Carolina.
The order also does not address a separate York County lawsuit in South Carolina Civil Court that alleges civil conspiracy between the Tepper companies in the project. That lawsuit, filed June 9, also alleges that Rock Hill failed to secure funding. Neither the Tepper nor Rock Hill companies have filed written responses to this lawsuit.
This story was originally published July 1, 2022 3:27 p.m.