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Sunday, October 23, 2011



Mountain Plaza truck stop in Dandridge, TN was given an Obama EPA stimulus grant of $424,000. The grant was part of $2 million dollars that TN DOT received from the Obama EPA as part of the Recovery Act of 2009. The money was for a truck-stop electrification project. The system allows truckers to hook up to air conditioning and electricity so they could shut down their engines and “wouldn’t burn diesel fuel while resting.” The project was funded by the EPA for the purpose of reducing the use of diesel fuel and cleaning up the TN air – another “Green Project” from the Obama administration.

Mountain Plaza’s owner is Ricky Hugo Lewis. Here’s a timeline which should make you go ballistic.

In 2002 Lewis was convicted of 31 counts of theft stemming from flawed sales tax returns he filed for a business he owned in the 1990s. He was found guilty, was placed on probation for 8 years, and he was ordered to reimburse the state nearly $70,000.

In 2003 Mountain Plaza and the Lewises filed for bankruptcy separately. Their debts again included local, state and federal taxes. They emerged from that bankruptcy in 2005.

In 2010, while still on probation, Lewis was indicted for writing worthless checks, including several for more than $10,000 each. This is important. Understand this. Lewis was still on probation and the worthless check charges were still pending when Obama/EPA/TN DOT approved the grant to his company, Mountain Plaza.
On May, 2010 U.S. Bank sued Lewis, his wife and Mountain Plaza because they failed to repay a $2 million dollar loan that was supposed to be used to refinance the truck stop.

On June 3, 2010 Mountain Plaza filed for bankruptcy. Debts included $18,000 owed to the IRS, $5,000 owed to the TN Dept. of Labor, $35,000 owed to the TN Dept. of Revenue, and $17,312 owed to Jefferson County.

On July 2, 2010 a state tax lien was filed against the company.
Focus on these dates, Folks. Here’s the worst of it.
Mountain Plaza applied for the $424,000 “grant” in September, 2009.

In December, 2009 Mountain Plaza received an “award letter,” basically a letter approving of the funding.

On May 18, 2010 contracts were executed and TN DOT sent them to the TN Dept. of Finance for approval.

On June 15, 2010 the funds were handed over to Rick and Bonnie Lewis, AKA Mountain Plaza. This is 12 DAYS after the company filed for bankruptcy.

In October, 2010 the TN DOT finally learned about Mountain Plaza’s bankruptcy.
Now the shiny new equipment languishes uselessly at the vacated site as U. S. Bank took possession of the bankrupt business after a sheriff’s auction at the County Courthouse failed to produce not even one interested bidder.

A review of public records would have exposed Mountain Plaza and the Lewises to the EPA and the TN DOT. Good Grief, anyone with a half a brain can Google Mountain Plaza, Rick H. Lewis or Bonnie L. Lewis. There’s a treasure trove of information readily available. But the EPA failed to do the most basic research before giving away almost a half million taxpayer dollars.

TN DOT spokeswoman B. J. Doughty admitted that “EPA did not require financial or criminal background checks or information to be disclosed on grant applications.” Well, of course not, because this was another “Green Project.” It sure is easy to be sloppy when it’s someone else’s money you are giving away.

But if any other American wanted a grant or wanted to borrow that much money you’d have to sign over your first born child, pledge your right arm, your left leg, both feet, and your life, along with every asset you currently have or expect to have in the future, and then sign the paperwork in blood. And you’d still be swiftly turned down. That is unless Obama considers your project “Green.”

Let’s call this what it is – more of Montezuma’s Revenge oozing from the putrid bowels of The White House.


1 comment:

  1. Rick Lewis, owner of Mountain Plaza, was convicted in August 2002 for 31 counts of sales tax theft. This information was not on his Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) report. There was no criminal record dates prior to the the application. After applying for the grant he began to rebuild his TBI criminal record. By September 2011 he had three charges for felony worthless checks. It was a total of 10 checks and several were $10,000 checks.

    The State Attorney General claims they didn't know about his record, but it seem more than a coincidence that his criminal record is scrubbed just before he applies for the Stimulus Grant.