Only on 5: War of words at county commission meeting

Shelby County Commissioner Julian Bolton was quick to let everyone know at a commission committee meeting Wednesday that he's suspicious of the PILOT program that gives tax breaks to businesses that are supposed to bring financial gain to the county.

"How much of that investment is in Memphis?" Bolton asked. "How many of those goods are bought from Memphis, or are they drop shipped from Chicago or Europe?"

Shelby County is in the process of reviewing how the PILOT program is used and whether it needs to be modified. Bolton repeatedly fired questions at Kelly Rayne, a county attorney and close advisor to Mayor A C Wharton.

Bolton: "Are they in error?

Rayne: "We need to give them some guidance."

Bolton: "Are they in error?"

Rayne: "No they are not."

Bolton: "They are in error."

Many in the meeting were clearly taken aback at the rapid fire and tone that Bolton took, including Rayne.

Rayne: "I take offense to that commissioner, I've been straight forward and honest with you about this. We're both lawyers."

Bolton: "I'm your client and I want the straight talk."

Rayne: "You're getting the straight talk sir."

Commissioner David Lillard also spoke up.

"I don't think it's helpful to brow beat the staff with respect to this matter. I don't think it's helpful at all," Lillard said.

Bolton seemed to step back, but only slightly, "I apologize for any insulting remarks that I've made but I just want to... Just as you were saying the staff is meeting your expectations they are not meeting mine."