A little duct tape and it's right as rain

The owner of a dilapidated Knoxville office turned a tidy profit when he flipped the building to the state.

A group of politically connected businessmen earlier this year sold a long-vacant Knoxville office building in need of millions of dollars in repairs and upgrades to the state for $10 million, twice the price they paid for it five years earlier.

The building, for Pellissippi State Community College, will cost an additional $16.6 million to make it suitable for a community college, according to a report commissioned by the college to assess the property before the purchase.

A series of emails obtained by The Tennessean under open records laws shows that the top aide to Gov. Bill Haslam stepped in late last year to try to make the purchase a priority after being contacted by an intermediary for the Knoxville developer selling the 220,000-square-foot building.

The developer, Samuel J. Furrow, has been a business partner with the governor in the past and a friend of the governor’s father, who loaned Furrow’s wife $1 million while Furrow was trying to sell the building to the state.