A nonprofit group called the McLemore Cove Preservation Society is suing the government of Walker County, Georgia, claiming that government officials are secretly “conspiring to install a large-scale chicken slaughterhouse” in the area.
The group claims county officials are in talks with Pilgrim’s Pride and is offering the company tax incentives to open a plant there, according to a report from the Times Free Press.
Walker County is located directly south of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
However, those talks have never been confirmed by county officials or by Pilgrim’s Pride. Further, Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield and local economic development director Robert Wardlaw said that the county has a practice of signing non-disclosure agreements when negotiating with potential businesses and therefore, cannot comment on such matters.
Whitfield, in a video posted on Facebook, condemned the actions of McLemore Cove Preservation Society, for filing a lawsuit he deems frivolous that will end up being costly to county taxpayers, including those who filed the suit. He further says the group is “working off rumors, not facts.”
“This group demands that we stop talking to companies that are interested in Walker County. We have asked ourselves why. What (are) their motives and special interests? This lawsuit and public relations smear campaign are designed to prevent our ability to attract great paying jobs and generate new tax revenues to benefit our citizens,” Whitfield said.
“The folks suing all of us are doing so with full awareness that we are in a financial distress and will be forced to use your tax dollars to defend this kind of petty, theatrical nonsense.”
During a commission meeting that commenced about an hour after Whitfield posted the video, several people in attendance criticized the practice of signing non-disclosure agreements, but Wardlaw said such agreements are signed “in every city, every county, and every state in the United States every day.”