City wants $35,000 from Corinth schools for Taco Bell property

town_corinth_greenBy Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – About two decades ago the Corinth school district sold two parcels of land from the South Corinth Elementary School campus that fronts on Cass Street in separate transactions to franchisee Phil Little, who built and later expanded a Taco Bell restaurant on the site.

In a letter the Corinth school board received on Monday, the city of Corinth is asking $35,000 reimbursement from the school district for improper sale of the property, which rightfully belonged to the city.

School board members agreed – with board member Chip Peterson absenting himself from the discussion and vote – to have Superintendent Lee Childress compose a letter with a counter-offer.

Since the city has agreed to accept nominal amounts from different groups for purchase of the various school properties, and since neither the city, purchaser Little nor the school district has been harmed by the erroneous property sale, the school district will offer to pay the city the nominal amount of $10 for retroactive purchase of the property.

Current school district officials only learned last year, while negotiating to dispose of former school properties, that the deeds to those properties contain a “reverter” clause requiring that properties conveyed to the district from the city be returned to city ownership once they are no longer used as schools.

Subject properties were South Corinth, West Corinth and East Corinth elementary schools, which were no longer used after the district built a new elementary school.

Recently the Corinth Board of Aldermen awarded a long-term lease for the former South Corinth school for a nominal amount to the Easom Outreach Foundation for use as Easom Community Center.

They voted in April to sell the west Corinth property to the Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission for $1,499 for historic preservation. Although the sale had to be withdrawn and the property rebid because of technical errors, the property may again be awarded for what could be considered a nominal amount.

The third property, East Corinth Elementary, has drawn interest from Mississippi Action for Progress to combine its two Corinth Head Start campuses in one location, and discussions are underway to dispose of that final campus property.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com