UPDATE: Ex-partner's suit against DePriest begins

COLUMBUS – A trial began Monday in a civil lawsuit filed against Columbus businessman and former Tennessee Valley Authority board member Don DePriest.

DePriest’s former business partner, Oliver L. Phillips Jr., alleges in the Lowndes County Circuit Court lawsuit that DePriest owes him more than $12 million. DePriest has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

DePriest was appointed to the TVA board in 2006. He resigned April 9.

Court documents say the business relationship between Phillips and DePriest goes back at least to 1982, when they and an investor named Chuck Cooper formed Charisma Communications Inc. Over the years, Phillips contends that he, either alone or in groups, loaned DePriest millions and invested in other businesses.

Phillips alleges DePriest reneged on promises to repay the money.

The Associated Press

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