Les Coffey, owner of Peerless Mill in Rossville, was arrested Wednesday and charged with making terroristic threats to the city's sewer authority, according to the Walker County Jail.
Coffey was booked into the jail late Wednesday night, according to officers at the jail. His bond has not been set.
According to Coffey's wife, Jill, the city had turned off the water to the Peerless Mill on Wednesday because he had not paid his water bill. Jill Coffey said she and her husband regularly pay their water bill, but "we don't pay the sewer portion because we maintain it."
"He told them, 'Listen, I'm tired of this. If the water doesn't get turned back on I'm going to block the sewer system,'" Jill Coffey said Wednesday night.
Jill Coffey said they paid the water bill Wednesday, but that her husband was arrested that afternoon.
"This is retalitory conduct. They do it every time they see something they don't like with the mill," she said.
She also said her husband's attorneys will be in LaFayette, Ga., today to expedite the bond hearing.
On Feb. 7, Coffey, who bought the Peerless mill in 2007, was granted a permit from the city of Rossville to tear down the 105-year-old structure. The next day, Coffey said he was ordered to stop tearing down the mill Tuesday when RDC, the company that sold him the mill and still holds the note on the property, was granted an emergency injunction.
When Peerless Self Storage filed for bankruptcy in December 2008, Coffey owed RDC almost $1.1 million, records show. He also owed creditors, including Tennessee American Water and EPB, $18,514 worth of debts.
Contact staff writer Kate Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6673.