Archived Story

Lawsuits threatened in connection with broadband project

Published 12:12pm Friday, December 7, 2012

The former owner of the Hayneville Plaza, which was purchased by the South Central Alabama Broadband Commission, is threatening to sue the Lowndes County Commission.

Karl and Helenor Bell are threatening a counter suit regarding a returned check for $500,000 to the Lowndes County Commission in connection with the purchase of the Hayneville Plaza.

The threat of a counter suit comes in the wake of a unanimous vote by the Lowndes County Commission to send a letter requesting the Bells make good a returned check for $500,000 or face legal action.

“My clients are tired of playing games over something that is trying to be made political by certain members of the Lowndes County Commission,” attorney Michael G. Strickland wrote in a letter to Commission Chairman Robert Harris.

The letter was copied, as well, to Lowndes County attorney Hank Sanders, Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams and District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer.

Strickland stated in the letter that he represents Karl and Helenor Bell and Hayneville Plaza LLC in this matter.

“This will be our final notice and request for the Lowndes County Commission to return the check written by Hayneville Plaza LLC to my office within 10 days of the date of this letter along with the requested minutes, print a public apology and retraction in The Lowndes Signal and cease and desist from all other actions arising out of the check and failed loan,” Strickland wrote. “If this matter is not resolved in 10 days per my request, I have been instructed to file suit to resolve this matter and clear my clients’ names.”

The checked referred to was dated July 12, 2011, on a Hayneville Plaza LLC, First Citizens Bank account, made to the Lowndes County Commission for $500,000, marked “loan to pay bond,” and signed by Karl Bell. It was returned stamped “insufficient.”

At the time, Karl Bell was owner of the Hayneville Plaza, which was purchased by the county for use by the South Central Alabama Broadband Commission in connection with the $86 million South Central Alabama Broadband Project to construct 2,200 miles of fiber optic broadband network in Butler, Crenshaw, Conecuh, Dallas, Escambia, Lowndes, Macon and Wilcox counties.

Commissioner W. Dickson Farrior said when questioned after the meeting that if the check is not made good, “We’re going to file a civil lawsuit.”

Editor's Picks