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By CINDY SIMPSON
The company that the city expected to do a study on the Pinnacle Pointe project is no longer interested.
Harriman Mayor Chris Mason said he is unsure why the Vaughn & Melton engineering firm is withdrawing from the study.
The Knoxville-based company had earlier agreed to take on the project using computer models to study the shopping center site to help resolve a conflict between the city and Prestige Land Co., a development company headed by Roane County businessmen Steve Kirkham and Jerry Duncan.
A state audit reported the developers owe the city more than $234,000 for development on private property.
The developers refute the audit’s findings. Instead, they say the city owes them money on the Hwy. 70 development, which includes Lowe’s and Kroger as its anchor tenants.
Earlier this month, the Harriman City Council voted to accept Vaughn & Melton for the project.
Jim K. Scott, an attorney who often represents the developers, wrote in an e-mail to reporters, “The city audit was not complete. All individuals involved in the matter, as well as all facts were not communicated to the city auditors.
“That is why the engineering firm is being used to study the matter.”
Scott stated the organization that studied the issue for the developers indicated Prestige Land Co. is due several hundred thousand dollars from the city.
“All involved are attempting to get a further objective review of the matter,” he said. “However, we are of the belief that it is our numbers that are the ones that are correct.”