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Rarity developer charges dismissed

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By Damon Lawrence

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion in federal court last week to dismiss a  28-count indictment against developer Michael L. Ross.
“As grounds therefore the United States would advise the court that new exculpatory evidence has been developed and provided by the defense that undermines the accuracy of the current indictment in this case,” the motion said.
Ross was charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering in the 28-count indictment filed last November. The motion to dismiss didn’t state what the exculpatory evidence was, but said Ross’ attorney agreed with the motion.
Ross was behind Roane County’s Rarity Ridge and Rarity Oaks developments. He was also behind several other high-end developments in East Tennessee.
Ross was lauded by the Knoxville News Sentinel as some kind of waterfront development guru, but his properties ended up in foreclosure. A Ross company also owed Roane County more than $500,000 because of unpaid property taxes.