John 'Thunder' Thornton wins $15.4M judgment against Mike Ross - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

John 'Thunder' Thornton wins $15.4M judgment against Mike Ross

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Developers John “Thunder” Thornton (left) and Mike Ross. Developers John “Thunder” Thornton (left) and Mike Ross.
KNOXVILLE (News Sentinel) - A high-profile Chattanooga developer has won a multi-million-dollar judgment against Rarity Communities developer Mike Ross, but whether he collects it is another question.

John “Thunder” Thornton, a significant University of Tennessee donor, had sued Ross and a pair of business entities related to Ross over Rarity Club, a waterfront project in Marion County, TN. Thornton previously had won a judgment against the businesses, but sought a personal judgment against the Maryville developer, as well.

The lawsuit went to trial in Marion County in December, and a consent judgment of more than $15.4 million — including costs and attorney's fees — was entered against Ross, who represented himself during the trial. A claim for punitive damages in the case was dismissed.

In an interview Tuesday, Ross said he couldn't afford an attorney, and said the jury deadlocked. “I've got several judgments against me, and rather than fight it … I just agreed to give him the judgment,” Ross said. “I didn't want to agree to any punitive damages, because I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't commit any fraud.”

Read more from our news partners at the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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