The legal battle over liquor tax payments between the Wilson County School Board and the city of Mt. Juliet finally concluded when Mt. Juliet city commissioners agreed to settle the lawsuit Monday night at their regular meeting.
The commissioners voted 4-0 (Mayor Ed Hagerty was absent) an ordinance to amend the fiscal year 2019/2020 budget to designate funds to settle the liquor lawsuit with the school board.
City attorney Gino Marchetti said the amount the city will pay is $592,000 ($472,660 in principal, plus interest at 4.5 percent since the date that the lawsuit was filed). A previous agreement was for $675,442.
The school board at its monthly meeting last week agreed to accept the payment if it is made in full within 15 days.
“I appreciate the effort and cooperation of the board of education following the judgement and their counsel,” Marchetti said. “To get this resolved and continuing the spirit of cooperation with the city and school board.”
In 2014 the school system, along with the Lebanon Special School District, sued the city to received unpaid liquor by the drink taxes due. The city decided to settle after Chancellor C.K. Smith in 2019 ruled the city pay back the district, with 4.5 interest.
Prior to the settlement, Mt. Juliet tried to negotiate a deal for the city to waive fees on school building projects until the amount was paid. That was not accepted by the school board.