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Ellis Smith

Stories by Ellis

Bryan College student Gustavo Angel Tamayo made a lay-up, a free throw, a 3-pointer and a half-court shot in succession to win $10,000 in tuition money Monday night.

Watch Alabama's Million Dollar Band pump up Chattanooga fans of the Crimson Tide

EPB has asked the Hamilton County Circuit Court to dismiss a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former city lighting contractor Don Lepard, who has claimed that Chattanooga taxpayers are owed more than $10 million in damages for as many as 20 years of overbilling by EPB.

EPB has filed a motion to dismiss the whistleblower lawsuit filed by former city lighting contractor Don Lepard, who made complaints on behalf of the cities of Chattanooga, East Ridge and Red Bank.

EPB officials confirmed on Tuesday that the utility has overbilled taxpayers for its streetlights' energy usage over a number of years, though they downplayed the extent of the overcharges ahead of a whistle blower lawsuit by a former city lighting contractor and settlement negotiations with the city.

EPB wants lawsuit on overbilling dismissed

Utility audit shows EPB owes city $17,000

EPB within a week will file a motion to dismiss the first of two whistleblower lawsuits filed against it by former city contractor Don Lepard, who made the complaints on behalf of the cities of Chattanooga, East Ridge and Red Bank.

Charter Communications is set to break up the monogamous relationship between cable cord and TV set, as the company introduces a new requirement that each of its customers obtain a set-top box in order to view even basic cable.

EPB faces a second whistleblower lawsuit unveiled within a month of the first, as the cities of East Ridge and Red Bank join Chattanooga in a legal action initiated by a former city contractor who says the utility knowingly overcharged taxpayers for electricity, then covered it up.

The $10 billion payday lending industry is under attack by a grass roots nonprofit group that seeks to counteract lenders' strong lobbying efforts as federal regulators consider new rules to rein in what some see as abuses among short-term lenders.

A second whistleblower lawsuit filed against EPB alleges that the utility overbilled the cities of East Ridge and Red Bank over 20 years by charging the cities for streetlights that didn’t exist or were misclassified.

Government watchdog Helen Burns Sharp spent more than $77,000, including tens of thousands of dollars out of her retirement account, fighting what she sees as a pattern of secret — and therefore illegal — decisions by a city board.

Doug Pendergast set out in 2012 to revive the 80-year-old Krystal brand by adding 150 small restaurants, improving quality and introducing new menu items.

Government watchdog Helen Burns Sharp, a retired city planner who sued a city board to after it met secretly to award $9 million to a golf course developer, has triumphed in her effort to recoup more than $77,000 in legal fees spent fighting the battle in court.

The Krystal Co. has parted ways with CEO Doug Pendergast, effective immediately.

EPB is looking for help to keep track of its streetlights.

After years of court battles, Luken Communications has settled with Arkansas bankruptcy trustee M. Randy Rice for $2 million, well short of the record-breaking $65.9 million penalty Rice had sought.

The new 691-bed student housing project off M.L. King Boulevard could mark the beginning of a battle for the soul of the street, as forces vie to bring entertainment, retail, housing and cultural developments to the promising corridor, said City Councilman Moses Freeman.

Luken Communications settles with former owner

TV network should emerge from bankruptcy next month

Luken Communications has settled with Arkansas bankruptcy trustee M. Randy Rice for $2 million, ending the court battles that have dogged the Chattanooga television company for more than four years.

In the gut of Chattanooga's downtown lies a barren patchwork of blighted property guarded by rusting razor wire, standing in open defiance of the growing prosperity surrounding it.

The first major development on M.L. King Boulevard in years is set to be unveiled tomorrow, as officials prepare to kick off a large student housing project some say could fundamentally transform what today is largely a forgotten, run-down district.

Chattanooga’s economic recovery is at a crossroads.

A new lawsuit claims that a city board under fire for holding secret meetings has run afoul of Tennessee's Sunshine Law because it again met secretly to discuss how to deal with previous violations.

A new lawsuit claims that a city board under fire for holding secret meetings has run afoul of Tennessee’s Sunshine Law because it again met secretly to discuss how to deal with previous violations.

Chattanooga Whiskey distillery on the move again

Downtown distillery scrapped as search begins for sturdier site

Chattanooga Whiskey, the upstart company that repealed a Prohibition-era law and helped kick off the startup movement in the Scenic City, is scrapping plans to build a distillery and tourist attraction in the John Ross building after structural concerns overwhelmed its vision for the site.

Anticipation turned to shock, then to ire and finally to TV test patterns as a group of Apple aficionados witnessed Tuesday's streaming keynote by the world's biggest technology company jerk to a stuttering, screeching halt.

Streaming video giant Netflix has waded into the fracas over the right of public utilities to expand high-speed broadband, throwing its considerable weight behind the efforts of Chattanooga and Wilson, N.C. to upend restrictive laws in 20 states.

A judge has unsealed a $10 million whistle-blower lawsuit filed against EPB on behalf of the city and state, alleging that the utility made false claims on its billing records for 20 years.

Attorneys have unleashed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that EPB violated Tennessee’s False Claims Act by knowingly submitting inflated bills for its streetlights, overbilling Chattanooga taxpayers for an amount that remains in dispute.

With TV coverage of the Tennessee game this weekend confined to the SEC network, Vols football fans without a high-end cable package will be forced to watch the contest at a bar or a buddy's house.

A citizen who successfully sued the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County could see the return of more than $75,000 in attorneys' fees after proving to Chancellor Frank Brown that a Chattanooga board secretly approved $9 million in taxpayer support for a residential-golf course development.

Judge Pam Fleenor collapsed early today, her first day presiding over cases.

Chattanooga has unveiled a plan to offer free Wi-Fi across the city.

John "Thunder" Thornton, the driving force behind the 9,000-acre Jasper Highlands development, has weighed into the debate over whether EPB and other municipalities should be allowed to expand high-speed broadband in the face of criticism from cable giants.

Chattanooga has unveiled a plan to offer free Wi-Fi across the city.

How a Chattanooga payday lender avoided prosecution here

New York did what Tennessee wouldn't — indicted Carey Brown

In the years after a 2011 Times Free Press investigation revealed that a dozen shell companies were making online payday loans at interest rates far higher than those allowed under state law, prosecutors and regulators took no public action — and refused to say why.

When Joyce Coltrin looks outside the front door of her wholesale plant business, her gaze stops at a spot less than a half mile away.

A Belgian manufacturer of textile and carpet machines will move a plant to Chattanooga from Dalton, consolidating operations across the U.S. at a 35,000-square-foot facility on Relocation Way, in Ooltewah, company officials said.

America's aging population is spurring a boom in medical visits that has taxed hospitals' ability to bill patients, forcing medical providers to either funnel more funds toward call centers, software and legal compliance, or else outsource their business operations to third-party vendors.

The cash was just a means to an end. Former used car dealer Carey Vaughn Brown wanted to save souls, and money was the easiest way to reach the world's downtrodden.

A trio of Miller & Martin attorneys fended off two hours of blistering attacks from a packed crowd Monday as litigators, City Council members and former city officials blasted a taxpayer financing agreement that would subsidize a road from a Chattanooga golf course community to access 3,000 undeveloped acres on top of Aetna Mountain.

Payday lender Carey Brown, along with associates Joanna Temple and Ron Beaver, will face criminal charges in New York nearly three years after an investigation by the Chattanooga Times Free Press concluded that the trio had created a syndicate of shell companies designed to market, make and collect payday loans considered illegal in many states.

First Security Group, the Chattanooga-based holding company for FSG Bank, bounced back to its first profitable quarter in years after more than $140 million of losses since 2008.

A cascade of new public and private deals to bolster shopping, dining and entertainment venues in downtown Chattanooga has boosted hopes for a second renaissance in the core of the Scenic City.

Payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, agreements are a favorite tool for attracting investments and jobs from companies like Volkswagen, Coca-Cola and Chattem.

As Chattanooga officials hash out subsidies to attract affordable rental developments to the city's downtown core, a half dozen new housing projects are moving forward without any help from taxpayers that will add more than a thousand apartments from the Southside to the Riverfront.

The NAACP on Thursday blasted a number of local tax incentives offered to developers and corporations as undermining a "grand pillar of democracy."

Publix has cleared the final hurdle in what has become a nearly two-year series of challenges between it and a planned opening next Wednesday.

Mohawk Industries' boasted a record-setting quarter as the world's largest flooring company reported its highest-ever earnings per share, when adjusted for unusual charges.

Calhoun, Ga.-based flooring giant Mohawk Industries’ profits jumped 20 percent in the second quarter to $162 million, excluding unusual charges, or $2.21 per share, up from $134 million in the second quarter of 2013.

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