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Calibur owner Thomas threatens legal action

A view of the now defunct Calibur Car Wash in Farragut.- Heather Mays/farragutpress
Following a farragutpress article Nov. 5, Calibur Car Wash owner Mike Thomas has taken issue with comments made by town of Farragut staff that he closed his business without paying fines for breaking a stormwater ordinance.

“They need to check with their attorney [Tom Hale], because their attorney is supposed to be getting back to me with some kind of settlement offer,” Thomas said.

“I’m not going to abide by some erroneous decision that the town of Farragut makes. They were clearly out of line the night we went out there to that last meeting.

“Tom [Hale] is supposed to be getting back with me about a settlement offer, or I’m going to file suit against them,” he added.

Hale concurred he had spoken with Thomas once, but said the conversation regarded a Town request that Thomas replace trees on the property. He agreed to inform Thomas whether that was part of the fines he owed or if it was a separate issue, but had to gather that information.

In August, Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen levied $950 in civil penalties against Thomas for clearing a detention basin behind the car wash.

Town staff said Thomas did the work without erosion control methods and without Town approval. They also said he ignored several stop work orders.

Thomas charged most of the damage had been done by First Utility District.

“I had pictures of it. It was already tore up beforehand,” he said.

He also said he had called the Town before doing anything and was informed he didn’t need a permit to clear the detention basin.

The $950 fine levied against Thomas was lowered from an original amount of $1,120.

“I think they’re incompetent; I think their inspectors are incompetent; I think [interim Town administrator] Gary Palmer is incompetent,” Thomas said.

“I’m really upset with this Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

“Bob Markli is the only one on that whole Board of Aldermen that has any knowledge or any professionalism, in my opinion, whatsoever,” he added.

At that August meeting, Markli was the only alderman who voted against levying the fines.

But Hale said, “The people on the staff and the members of the committee that reviewed this, before it got to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, it sure looked to me like they did their dead-level best to work things out with him and to be fair to him.”

In the Nov. 5 article, Palmer said he would place a lien on Calibur Car Wash to recover the fines.

“I disagree with Gary Palmer’s statement here that anybody ran out on it. I’m negotiating that with Tom Hale, and if [Palmer] knew what he were doing, he would know that,” Thomas said.

“Nobody ran out on anybody,” he added.

In response to Thomas, Palmer said he knew Hale and Thomas had corresponded, but said, “There is no settlement.”

Hale agreed.

“No one has made an offer to settle anything. All I’ve agreed to do is look into a concern he had about this tree business,” Hale said.

Thomas, the original owner of Calibur, sold the car wash in 2005 to two other area businessmen. He took the property back earlier this year, when he and property owner Charlie Hicks decided to swap parcels.

“I leased [the property] with the option to purchase it, and we really had the understanding we were going to trade some properties,” Thomas said.

He took over the business in February, which also is when he cleared the detention basin. However, ownership of the property never fully switched hands, and in October, First National Bank of Lenoir City foreclosed on the property.

“They sold it at auction. Nothing to do with me whatsoever,” Thomas said.

Knox County records reveal First National Bank owns the property.

Thomas said he still was considering legal action against the Town.

“I still disagree with their opinion, and if Tom doesn’t get it worked out, I will file suit against them still,” Thomas said.


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