From Post staff reports
The defendant in a lawsuit filed by State Sen. Mae Beavers over the purchase of a newspaper in Macon County has essentially denied any claims by Beavers that would warrant a payment in damages of $50,000.
The answer to Beavers' complaint also names a second high profile political personality who was to be an investor in the newspaper deal.
Kathryn Belle, a principal in a limited liability corporation (LLC) that entered into a contract almost two years ago to buy The Macon County Chronicle from MainStreet Media, owners of The Wilson Post and other newspapers in Middle Tennessee, was sued by Beavers and her husband Jerry Beavers in December 2011 claiming that they had loaned Belle $50,000 to buy the newspaper.
However, Belle in her answer filed with the Chancery Court in Wilson County Tuesday, said Beavers contribution to the fund to acquire the newspaper was not a loan as Beavers claimed but instead was an investment.
Lebanon attorney Keith Williams is representing Belle in the matter.
The LLC, Choice Community Newspapers, was to pay a total of $360,000 for the newspaper over a period of several weeks. The company made two payments of $50,000 each and then defaulted on paying the balance resulting in MainStreet Media reclaiming the newspaper and selling it to another entity.
Beavers alleged in the suit against Belle that a $50,000 cashiers check handed to Belle to help facilitate the purchase of the newspaper was a loan that was to be paid back. However, Belle in her answer states that Beavers was one member of the investor group that was to purchase and operate The Macon County Chronicle.
Other investors listed by Belle in her answer to the Beavers' complaint included Lou Ann Zelenik, a resident of Murfreesboro who was a candidate in the Republican primary two years ago for the Sixth District Congressional seat, and a former owner and publisher of The Macon County Chronicle, John Cook.
Zelenik was defeated in that political campaign by U.S. Rep. Diane Black.
According to Belle's answer, Beavers $50,000 investment in the LLC was hand-delivered to Belle in the form of a CedarStone Bank cashiers check made payable to MainStreet Media.
On May 26, 2010 the Co-Plaintiff Mae Beavers invested $50,000.00 in the venture, which was to be used to make the installment that was due on May 21, 2010 to MainStreet Media. This investment was funded through a cashier's check issued by CedarStone Bank, payable to MainStreet Media LLC from Choice Community Newspaper LLC," Belle's answer states.
Belle states further that the payment made by Beavers was for the specific purpose of investing in the venture and to make payment of the May 21, 2010 installment due to MainStreet Media for purchase of the Macon County Chronicle.
Arguing in the complaint that the funding was a loan, Beavers said Belle and Cook accepted the $50,000 with the understanding that they were to pay an interest rate of 6 percent and that the note was payable on demand to purchase a portion of interest in a newspaper business.
The complaint also states that Belle and Cook have made numerous payments on the loan, although according to a filing made Monday by the senator concerning her financial commitment in the transaction she has received no income.