Knox County, Tennessee has launched an investigation into the county’s relationship with Natural Resources Recovery of Tennessee (NRRT), a contractor the county is currently suing under the Tennessee False Claims Act. The county has joined in a lawsuit filed against NRRT by Bradley Mayes, a competitor. Mayes charged that NRRT, a contractor hired by the county to operate the Solway mulch facility, violated Tennessee’s False Claims Act by making a claim for payment for a subcontractor’s work and by withholding a substantial amount in shared revenues.

Knox County Chancellor John Weaver, the judge hearing the False Claims Act suit, called for an outside investigation into dea.lings between NRRT and the county, given the closeness of the relationship. Judge Weaver was disturbed by the county’s mediated settlement with NRRT in which NRRT’s contract with the county was extended and both parties were released from liability. Under Tennessee’s False Claims Act, settlements must be approved by the court. In response to the judge’s ruling, Knox County is attempting to withdraw from the lawsuit it had joined against NRRT.

If Judge Weaver approves the county’s motion to remove itself from the case, Mayes would proceed against NRRT on his own. Mayes’ attorneys have asked the Tennessee District Attorney General to investigate and send the matter to a grand jury. But the attorney general’s special counsel has indicated that the attorney general’s office does not involve itself in civil suits.

For the full story, go to Knoxville News Sentinal.