A crazy idea: Hawkins businessman deeds property in remote subdivision to President Trump

Jeff Bobo • Dec 11, 2017 at 5:50 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Last year Phillip Henard had a "crazy idea" to quitclaim about an acre of his mostly undeveloped remote Grandview Subdivision near Rogersville to President Donald Trump and the Trump family.

With all the publicity this move has garnered, Henard may turn out to be crazy like a fox.

On Saturday, Henard sent an email to the Times-News stating that on Dec. 8 he handed a deed over to Mark Trent, "representing the Trump Family and Trump Organization for Lot 40 in the Grandview Subdivision" located just west of Rogersville.

There are several lake front lots at Grandview that might be more desirable and valuable with Donald Trump as a neighbor, and/or if the local water utility decided to extend service there.

Lakeview Utility District superintendent Tim Carwile told the Times-News Monday that Henard has been seeking water service for his Grandview Subdivision for about a decade.

"Mr. Henard insists that he put in a waterline in 1977 and it was the district's responsibility to maintain, even though there were no customers," Carwile told the Times-News. "I told Mr. Henard that what he put in was not compatible or capable of being served by the district in 1977, and is not compatible or capable of being served by the district today."

Carwile added, "I ran across him back in the summer and he mentioned that 'I have talked to someone who will force you to serve my properties'. I told him that nobody exists who can force me to put water to his system with what he installed. I guess he figures that the President can."

Henard told the Times-News Monday that water wasn’t on his mind when he contacted the Trumps. 

On Monday Henard answered a few Times-News questions about his Trump Deal:

How did this all come about?

“It was a crazy idea that I had about a year ago, or maybe a little bit longer. I don't know the exact date. I thought it might be something I'd like to try and do.”

You've had contact with the Trumps since you came up with this idea?

“Not personally, but with some agents of their's.”

What was their response to your idea?

“To try to put things together and pursue it. They were for it.”

What did you hope to achieve by doing this?

“Not really anything. I just thought it would be a good idea. There's other important people — movie stars, and folks like that who own property in Hawkins County, and Sullivan, Hamblen and Hancock counties ... but nobody like the Trump name. Nobody of that caliber.”

Did you think this might be a feather in the cap of Rogersville and Hawkins County to have property here owned by the President?

“It might get our name on a map somewhere.”

What do they plan on doing with the land?

"I have no idea. It was never asked and I don't know."

Do you own that entire subdivision?

"I think there were about 58 lots, and I still own about half of them. I own the majority of what's in there."

How did you make contact with the Trump family?

"I just wrote them a letter to start with."

Did you say, “Hey, I want to give you some land in Hawkins County, Tenn., would you be interested?”

"Something like that."

Do you think this will increase the value or demand for your other land over there?

"I have no idea. I guess that depends on if there's more Republicans or Democrats looking to by property over there."

Was this a marketing ploy to bring attention to your subdivision?

"Not really that. That might work, but I've not really thought about any of that."

Do you think now that the President owns property there, Lakeview Utility will have to extend water service up there?

"I wouldn't have any idea. When I subdivided that property I put water in and signed it over to Lakeview. It's a long story, but they busted the water line. After I put it in, the district and the state approved it, and they (Lakeview) took it over. I've asked him to fix that leak several times and he says it doesn't meet specifications, but I disagree with him. We can still sell lots and put wells in."

Might this move convince (Carwile) to be more cooperative?

“I've not thought of that. He's the last thing on my mind.”

The property is worth $7,800, and the deed says you get $10 and "other good and valuable consideration." What does that mean?

“I can't reveal that. On the privacy stuff, I can't go into any of that. I can't talk about any of the monetary stuff.”

Is it a gift to the President?

“No, but I can't go into that. I hate not being able to answer your question. Maybe someday I can, but i can't right now.”

Do you think Trump’s property will be developed?

“I've been asked that same thing several times today and yesterday. But, if a piece of property is transferred to anybody, I wouldn't have no idea what their intentions are. I don't know. It would be nice if they do.”

But through your agent you've been in touch with the Trump family, and they know about this, and they agree to accept the land?

“Yes sir.”

What if somebody wants to buy a lot out there and be neighbors with the president. Can they call you?

“I've got lots down there, but I'll be honest with you, I haven't even thought about selling them. I would, but if somebody called me today and wanted to buy a lot across the street (from Trump), I wouldn't have any idea what to price it. I haven't even thought about it. That might be something I'll have to pursue.”


Here's more info that the Times-News was able to find out about this deal Monday:

* The property in question is appraised at $7,800. The quitclaim deed states Henard and his wife Karen will receive $10 for the property "and other good and valuable consideration to them in hand paid by ("the Trump Organization, Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. and wife Vanessa Trump").

* The tract being quitclaimed to Trump is located adjacent to Dalton Cemetery and is encircled by the Arrington Road loop. Several lots to the north and west of the quitclaimed property have access to Cherokee Lake. The Cherokee Raceway Park dragstrip is located just south of the property, well within earshot.

* The annual property tax on the property being quitclaimed to the President is currently $49.

* A quitclaim deed transfers any interest the owner has in the property to a recipient. The owner terminates, or "quits" any right and claim to the property, thereby allowing the right or claim to transfer to the recipient.

* Mark Trent, who is identified by Henard as "representing the Trump Family and Trump Organization" is a Century 21 realtor based in Colonial Heights. Trent didn't respond to messages left by the Times-News at his office.

* In his original press release Saturday Henard stated, "It was a pleasure to work with the Trump's and during this entire process, communication was not as hard as I thought it might be. Everything went smoothly as we did progress along in this matter. Karen, my wife, and I would like to welcome the new property owners for taking a part in Hawkins County property ownership. It will be very interesting to see what their plans are. It was a please to meet Mr. Trent as he made the trip down to see that everything was taken care and in proper order for the Trumps."

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