Charlotte, NC

Thursday in Charlotte: Panthers owner's company bankrupt, Whitewater Center widens and more

Collin Cunningham
Gaining bipartisan approval at a NC Senate session on Wednesday, HB149 would expand Medicaid coverage to 500,000 or 600,000 state residents.(Brian Stukes/Getty Images)

By Collin Cunningham

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Good morning, Charlotteans, and welcome to a Thursday, June 2 Roundup that's going for broke after the sports and media company managed by Panthers owner David Tepper filed for bankruptcy, ending the team's hopes of using a half-built practice facility in Rock Hill.

While the Panthers won't be constructing a new building, the U.S. National Whitewater Center will be as the nonprofit rafting organization seeks to expand outside of Charlotte. An anonymous reporting system that recently expanded to North Carolina has yielded over 250 warnings about students planning possible attacks on schools and the state's Senate gave initial approval to a measure that would open up the statewide Medicaid program to more residents.

1. Tepper's troubles: Sports and entertainment company operated by Panthers owner files for chapter 11
Panthers owner David Tepper's holding company filed for bankruptcy in Delaware Wednesday. The hedge fund manager is worth $16.7B.(Mike Comer/Getty Images)

We reported in April that an $800 million Carolina Panthers training facility may not see the light of day, and now the project is completely buried after Tepper Sports & Entertainment, the holding company owned by Panthers owner David Tepper, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday.

The move may leave representatives at GT Real Estate, which was contracted to build the facility after the Panthers bought the 240-acre site in 2020, scratching their heads about next steps. According to the Burlington Times-News, initial hype surrounding the building blossomed as developers plotted restaurants, hotels and other lucrative businesses for the surrounding area

Why it matters: The concrete, steel and copper already installed at the proposed practice hall will have to be repurposed. The Panthers will likely continue to spend the preseason at their training camp in Spartanburg, North Carolina, roughly 64 miles west of Rock Hill. Also up in the air is the status of $115 million in tax break incentives that lawmakers in Columbia approved in exchange for the Rock Hill move in 2019, per Greenville Online.

The specific filing took place in Delaware, commonly recognized as a tax haven in which businesses and their owners are exempt from state corporate income tax, according to Investopedia. Through TSE, Tepper, whose net worth stands at a Forbes-calculated total of $16.7 billion, owns majority stakes in the Panthers and Bank of America Stadium in addition to developing residential housing.

Zooming out: The news comes amid a busy week for TSE, with WCCB asking "What in the world is going on at Tepper Entertainment?" after Charlotte FC, the soccer team also under Tepper's ownership, fired head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez on Tuesday. Near the beginning of May, the holding firm announced it had parted ways with ex-CEO Nick Kelly.

2. Whitewater widening: Local rafting nonprofit heading to South Carolina and Virginia
By expanding to South Carolina, Virginia and deeper into North Carolina, the National Whitewater Center can host more activities and events.(Courtesy of Charlotte's got a lot)

The U.S. National Whitewater Center already provides over 1,300 acres for North Carolinians to explore the outdoors both via water and outside of a craft, but the outdoor activity-focused nonprofit looks to open centers in South Carolina and Iowa while expanding deeper into the Old North State.

Each facility has its own name drawing inspiration from their respective regions. Whitewater Santee in South Carolina will be framed by the Santee River basin, a floodplain nestled into the state's southeastern coastal corner. Activities include fishing, biking, paddling and classes or information sessions on local history, as well as events along the Cooper River at the 326-acre Middleburg Preserve.
Whitewater Pisgah will position the outdoor activity center farther west into NC, into the trees and rocks of the state's mountains.(Courtesy of U.S. National Whitewater Center)

Whitewater Pisgah, meanwhile, involves 112 miles of westward expansion to North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest that "represents some of the most significant and diverse natural resources in the United States." While Charlotte is relatively flat, the 513,000-acre Pisgah allows for more varied hiking, climbing and backpacking activities.

Santee and Pisgah are both open now, but the organization has yet to release a full website detailing its fartest reach, while will see Whitewater Grayson land in "the highlands of southwest Virginia" sometime in 2023.

Expounding on the expansion, Whitewater Center CEO Jeff Wise said "The southeastern United States was a logical starting point becasue of hte rmearkable recreatonal amenities available in this part of the world," per Kiss 95.1.

3. Anonymous alerts: Reporting system has tipped NC school officials to over 250 incidents

What happened: The anonymous reporting portal called "Say Something" that's in use in 85% of North Carolina's public school districts has helped officials at said school districts identify over 250 possible violent incidents. As we detailed in January, the system can be downloaded as an application for mobile devices or accessed via a web browser.

It first launched at districts in 2019 in a culmination of several years of work stemming from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December of 2012, per ABC11. Readers can learn more about the software or submit a tip with relevant concerns via this page.

Why it matters: That figure comes courtesy of Karen Fairley from North Carolina's Center for Safer Schools, telling the House Education Committee about school safety standards in the wake of the school shooting that killed 19 elementary students in Uvalde, Texas. In addition to the 98 of 115 public school districts in the Tar Heel State to use the program, 145 charter buildings in North Carolina have made it available to students.

4. More Medicaid: NC Senate says OK to subsidized care expansion

The roughly 2.7 million North Carolinians enrolled in the state's Medicaid program may have new members among their ranks after the North Carolina Senate granted early approval to a measure that would broaden the qualifying income range. As it stands, households of four in North Carolina would quality for Medicaid if they meet any of the five following conditions and earn no more than $36,908 annually:

  • Pregnancy
  • Responsibility for a child aged 18 or younger
  • Blindness
  • Living with a disabled family member
  • Being aged 65 or older

North Carolina is one of 11 U.S. states that has yet to expand Medicaid to uninsured residents despite having been able to do so for five yeas, according ot the North Carolina Justice Center. The move would give 500,000 to 600,000 more people access to the subsidized care plan, which typically gives members access to inpatient and outpatient services, laboratory work and home heatlh care.

Having passed its second house reading on Wednesday, House Bill 149 next heads to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk, where it will likely obtain a signature.

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I cover the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for NewsBreak's Creator Program. Check back often for daily headline roundups to learn what's happening in the Queen City!

Charlotte, NC

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