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WASTE WATCH: Local Dairy Farmer Says State is Milking Him for All His Family's Worth -- Mikayla Lewis

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A local dairy farmer says the state is milking him for all he is worth and has for a decade.
Ernie Jones and his family say after finally getting compensation for a highway built through their property, The Tennessee Department of Transportation is now trying to take that money back-using your taxpayer money.

It's the same routine for William Ernest Jones Jr., a fifth generation  dairy farmer.

Now going to court is often part of his schedule. TDOT condemned part of the land for possession to put in Highway 64  three years ago.

Ernie Jones says, " We have a lot of waste at his dairy farm, we've got to distribute this waste. We didn't accept their offer."

And about a year later, the state took the property needed by imminent domain according to Jones.
About three years ago, TDOT began construction and opened the hwy.

 Jones says, " We tried to get to court before they were done bulldozing to get a settlement, but they didn't want proceed, they just kept delaying us."

Last July, the Jones' took the state to court where the verdict came back in the family's favor. According to court records, the state paid about $191,000 for about 16 acres.
But now...

Jones says, "Now, they want to take the money back from us that the court awarded us."

Jones says the state is asking for about $100,000, taking him back to court for another round.

 Jones says, "I'm at my wits end with them. I don't know where to go. Now there's no telling how much money they've wasted of the taxpayers money and continue to wasted everyday trying to fight a dairy farmer in Lawrence county."

Jones says it's caused stress for his family including his parents the primary farm owners. They say most of their settlement went to court and attorney fees.
 
Alice Jones, Ernie's mom says, " All of that cost money you know so it's just been a big hassle."

Ernie jones says, "I'm accomplishing something in life there's babies all over this world being born and they need food. I feel like I'm doing a good part in society. But I want the state of  Tennessee to leave me the hell alone."

TDOT referred Fox 17 to the Attorney General's office, since the case is in litigation. Deputy attorney general, Larry Teague says, the state filed a briefing with the Tennessee Court of Appeals. He says the office is waiting on the Jones' attorney to do the same in the next couple of weeks.

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