Chattanooga businessman Allen Casey on Monday spoke publicly for the first time in his bankruptcy cases, saying his high-profile downtown riverfront land coupled with nearby tracts was appraised six years ago at nearly $20 million.

"There's very few lots on the river," said Casey during questioning by attorneys at a creditors meeting at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chattanooga.

Key to major development on the site, Casey said, is working with local Realtor Fletcher Bright. He is a significant shareholder of a company, JIT, which owns nine adjacent acres that hold large propane tanks on site.

Casey attorney David Fulton said the tanks ought to be removed before Casey's land can be developed into a potential hotel and residences, which has been proposed in the past.

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