New controversy surrounds Southaven Mayor Greg Davis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New controversy surrounds Southaven Mayor Greg Davis

(WMC-TV) - Southaven Mayor Greg Davis is accused of costing taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars for a questionable firehouse deal.

Southaven Mayor pro tem Greg Guy said Monday that Davis is unable to address the city's newest financial scandal as he is seeking unspecified medical treatment.

The scandal involves the city's Fire Station No. 2, for which the city is paying $30,000 in rent per month.

Guy said Davis suggested this rent/purchase agreement as a way to build a new fire station without taking on another bond.  The bond money initially taken out to build one was used on other projects.

"The opportunity was that we could go ahead and get in quicker because we didn't have to wait for bond situation to go through," said Guy.

The city went into business on this no bid deal with two businessmen, David Murphy and Stephen Gross of Murphy and Sons, who are some of Davis' biggest campaign contributors.

The life of the lease is 15 years, though the city would have bought the property after 13 months and considerably cut the total cost of the fire station for the city, but that did not happen.

"We've been in for 28 months," said Guy.  "Why we didn't purchase at 13, I don't know.  When the mayor surfaces, I intend to ask myself."

A fire station valued around $3.2 million will cost the city more than $4 million instead.  Guy said he did not see anything unusual about the deal at the time, but now wonders what else will be discovered behind business deals over the last few years.

As for the developers, Guy said he does not think the men expected the project because of their campaign contributions.

"These guys are businessmen, they are builders, they build for a living and they do it for a profit," said Guy.

Action News 5's call to Murphy and Sons was not returned Monday night.

Guy said he will suggest during Tuesday night's board meeting that the city go ahead and buy the fire station to reduce the total cost as much as possible.

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