A discussion about Hamilton County Schools potentially purchasing the former Sears and J.C. Penney stores at Northgate Mall at a Monday board meeting has drawn criticism for one school board member.
Some Hamilton County residents are calling board member Rhonda Thurman of District 1 out for what they call a racist and offensive comment about local developer and Islamic leader, Bassam Issa.
While board members debated the $8.9 million price tag for the properties, several expressed frustrations with a perceived price increase since Issa and his partner, John J. Woods, purchased the Sears property after the district expressed interest in it in April.
Thurman agreed with fellow board members Steve Highlander and Jenny Hill's concerns about "the economic times" and argued that there are likely to be more properties available as businesses close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.