Former Chattanooga Lookouts investor's share of Hamilton County landfill to be sold in Ponzi case

Staff file photo / Greg Krum, right, president of Birchwood II Landfill, talks with Charlie Hunt, center, and John Woods, vice president Birchwood II, about plans for work at the site in 2020. The 25-acre construction and debris site later opened following an emergency approved go-ahead from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

A share of a Hamilton County landfill owned by former Chattanooga Lookouts investor John J. Woods will be sold by the court-appointed receiver in his alleged Ponzi scheme case.

A U.S. District Court judge in Atlanta has approved the sale of Woods' 26.6% share in the group that owns the Birchwood landfill for $100,000 to two local men who already hold most of the rest of the interest in the tract, records show.

Charles William Lind Jr. and Richard Greg Krum are current members of the group that owns the 25-acre parcel they and Woods purchased in 2017 for the construction and debris landfill, according to a court filing by receiver A. Cotten Wright.

Although the 26.6% interest in the property is currently held in Woods' name, he said through his attorney that it should have been part of a fund that is the subject of a civil action involving the alleged Ponzi scheme.

In August, federal regulators claimed Woods ran "a massive Ponzi scheme for over a decade" that defrauded more than 400 investors.

The complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission said the fund, which goes by the name Horizon Private Equity, collected more than $110 million from investors with promises of 6-7% rates of return.

But the complaint said the investments "are worth far too little for there to be any realistic prospect that the Ponzi scheme will be able to pay back existing investors their principal, let alone the promised returns."

Woods, an East Ridge native who now lives in Marietta, Georgia, has said he committed no wrongdoing.

The Birchwood property is at least the second Hamilton County investment that the receiver, a North Carolina attorney, has sold related to Horizon.

In October, U.S. District Court Judge Steven D. Grimberg agreed to let the Chattanooga Lookouts buy Woods' share of the minor league baseball team for $1.87 million.

The receiver in Woods' case is working to liquidate Horizon assets in the Ponzi case, including more than $55 million invested in Chattanooga area entities.

The Birchwood property was purchased in 2017 for $175,000 by the group, of which Charles Carter Hunt also owns a 10% interest, court records show.

The real estate company said the land is landlocked, that the landfill cells have a limited life span and, at the expiration of that time, the cells must be covered, capped and monitored to mitigate potential environmental ramifications. Given the activities on the land and the foreseeable limitations in use, the value of the tract was assessed at $0, according to a court filing.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.