Mayors fight to keep International Paper in Memphis

Mayors fight to keep International Paper in Memphis

(WMC-TV) - Both the Memphis mayor and Shelby County mayor are fighting to keep International Paper in the Bluff City.

But one Shelby County commissioner is concerned a deal with IP could set a bad precedent.

International Paper recently confirmed the company is considering a move out of Memphis.

Reports the paper giant is looking to expand in Desoto County, Mississippi has Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz asking questions.

"I've asked for a comparison of circumstances under which IP builds their new 250,000 square feet building in Desoto County versus building here," said Ritz.

Commissioner Mike Ritz says Memphis city leaders are frustrated with IP's closed door conversations.

"I think they've been looking at some things from their own view point but to not to help the people who have to make decisions," said Ritz.

Ritz says if IP is offered the 30 year pilot or tax incentive to stay put. That decision could cause a domino effect.

"Why wouldn't we be asked to do the same thing by Fed Ex, AutoZone, and many other people?" wondered Ritz.

"There is no such thing as 'If you do it for one you have to do it for all'. There are no equal protections or legal things on that," said Mayor A C Wharton.

Both the city and county mayors weighed in on the issue Thursday and said business negotiations are made by merit.

"International Paper is a Fortune 500 company. They bring a lot to our community and that is something that we value and we have to consider," said Mayor Mark Luttrell.

"The citizens of Memphis and Shelby County have to come out with a profit on it. That's the ultimate test," said Wharton.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.