Who is "East Tennessee Materials, LLC" ???

Just who is behind the quarry proposal?  The application materials list "East Tennessee Materials, LLC" as the official applicant.  But it also lists "Calhoun Materials, LLC" as the group who paid for studies a few years ago.  The application also mistakenly lists "Avenrock, LLC" as the applicant (as if old plans were hastily copied/pasted from a previous application).   We know Ross Tarver bought the property for just over $3 million dollars from Bowater.  And before that, it was owned by Portland Cement (who, for some reason, never tried to develop a quarry).

The spokesperson is an investment banker named Tim Townhill from New York (or maybe Philadelphia) who says he works for "East Tennessee Materials, LLC" but lists his address in Cleveland, TN (which is actually a lawyer's office). Turns out Townhill is a British investment hedge fund manager and Executive Vice President for a company called "VantaCore Partners, LP."  VantaCore is a subsidiary of Kayne Anderson Energy Development Company (got that?)

Looks like VantaCore is essentially a hedge fund that is more interested in turning profits than protecting McMinn County.  It appears VantaCore's parent company also does oil and gas drilling; refineries; and coal mining and processing (an environmental tri-fecta, if you will).

VantaCore has virtually no experience in rock quarries.  They bought a sand plant in Louisiana 2 years ago, and kept all 15 of the existing employees; and bought a rock quarry in Clarksville 2 years ago and kept those employees as well.

What does all this tell us?  It tells us this company is brand new to the quarry business.  Either they are going to flip it and sell it to the highest bidder, or they are going to try to operate this quarry themselves.  Their application said they will employ 10 full time people.  How many will come from McMinn County?

The rumor is brothers Thomas and Steve Williams will operate at least part of the asphalt plant and the cement plant, but we don't know for sure.


  1. Billy Ray11:20 AM

    say what?

    A british hedge fund? Like BP?

    Oh great, just what we need--a bunch of new yorkers playing hide and go seek for the british in a risky business that they have little or no experience running.......well how could you not be for this city council and county commission? sounds like a winner?

  2. Anonymous11:03 AM

    I will say this about the Williams brothers - they are good, honest men. I don't know if they have every run a quarry before, however.

  3. I am a concerned resident of McMinn County. I drove around the proposed site yesterday. What about the daycare center next door? If the kids are kept in that location they will become shell-shocked and may be physically harmed. I also took note of the large creek that will dump toxic run-off into the Hiwassi River. I don't want to see this quarry anywhere near our residents children, our homes or our natural resources. I live downriver from this proposed quarry and I don't want it.

  4. Anonymous2:14 PM

    Ross Tarver says if the day care doesn't like it they can move.

  5. Anonymous2:15 PM

    Thats true. That daycare center is in a bad location in that wooded area. It should be in the calhoun city limits.

  6. I was coming back from Polk County today along up Hwy 163 to Cleveland this afternoon and had the misfortune of being there when one of their dumptrucks came barreling out of the East Tennessee Materials location. It was a gorgeous day, my windows were down, and here's this dumptruck with clouds of unknown dust billowing off of it into the road and all-over the truck that was in front of me. That trail of dust runs all the way back to Hwy 11; all the way to Interstate 75. These people should at least have the decency to put some kind of truck wash up there, or at the very least tarp their trucks so they're not polluting the environment!

  7. I was coming back from Polk County today along up Hwy 163 to Cleveland this afternoon and had the misfortune of being there when one of their dumptrucks came barreling out of the East Tennessee Materials location. It was a gorgeous day, my windows were down, and here's this dumptruck with clouds of unknown dust billowing off of it into the road and all-over the truck that was in front of me. That trail of dust runs all the way back to Hwy 11; all the way to Interstate 75. These people should at least have the decency to put some kind of truck wash up there, or at the very least tarp their trucks so they're not polluting the environment!

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