City and county get taxes,
NAP reclaims property

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com
A representative of the Doe River Express has paid more than $130,000 to Elizabethton and Carter County governments to redeem the 16-acre North American Polyester property.
Doe River paid off NAP's delinquent real property taxes of $70,573.06 to the city and $61,785.98 to the county -- including principal, interest and 10 percent penalty -- to reclaim the property on Friday, according to city and county officials.
"If they had not redeemed the property, they would have not had a claim on it, and it would have become sole possession of the city," said Bradley Moffitt, Elizabethton city clerk and director of finance.
NAP paid real property taxes owed Carter County for the tax years 1997 to 2001, according to the Chancery Court office. The check to cover delinquent county property taxes made to the Chancery Court was signed by Don Pectol, listed as NAP contact owner on the property's real estate appraisal record of the county assessor of property's office.
The company also had its 2002 real property taxes totaling $6,584.38 paid to the county, according to the county trustee's office.
The city filed suit against several property owners owing delinquent real and personal property taxes in 2002. According to city tax records, the NAP redemption covered $40,954 in back taxes, $26,208 in penalty and interest plus $3,085 post-judgment fee.
The property was purchased by the city at a public auction held Aug. 29, 2002 after the North American Polyester failed to pay real property taxes to the city from 1997 to 1999. Delinquent taxes paid to the county covered the years 1997-2001. The owners had one year from the date of sale to redeem the property by paying the entire principle amount and interest plus 10 percent of the principle amount.
The redeemed property possibly opens the doors for development along W. Elk by the property's owner. North American Rayon Corp. recently sold more than 22 acres of property to Wal-Mart for the development of a Supercenter retail store. The NAP property lies between the NARC campus and adjacent property where Sycamore Shoals Hospital stands.
The Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission approved a site plan for the Supercenter in June. The site plan included an access road development linking the Supercenter development with Wallace Avenue.
A site plan submitted to develop a Walgreens drug store also on NARC property was nixed by the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission in April. The city planning department balked at the plan's proximity of a proposed curb cut near the NARC egress for Walgreens. The commission instead approved an alternate site plan that gave the drug store development the same NARC access entrance on W. Elk Ave.
According to Chancery Court and city documents, the NAP was redeemed by Doe River Express, a trucking company that ceased operations in December. Robert Smalling had served as president and chief executive office of Doe River Express when the firm announced its closure. Doe River Express had been initially named in a lawsuit by the city of Elizabethton against Charles K. Green and North American Fibers among other business entities bearing the prefix "North American." The trucking company and several other North Americans were later dropped from the lawsuit.
According to city tax records, NAP also owes more than $86,000 in personal property taxes including principal and interest for the year 1996-1998. The real property tax payment will go to the city's general fund budget this year, Moffitt said.
"It should've been here a long time ago," he said of the delinquent taxes payout.