State & Bay County Now Suing Redpine's Owner

There's been a new development in a story that NewsChannel 7 continues to track. It involves the legal efforts on the part of Bay County and the state of Florida to recoup 750-thousand dollars in economic incentive money they paid to Redpine software last year.

The county has now changed the lawsuit against the company to include Redpine owner Shad Wheeler personally as a defendant. The money was given to Wheeler as incentives to relocate his Redpine medical software company here from Spokane, Washington.

Wheeler promised 400 jobs paying almost $50,000 annual salaries in order to get the $400,000 from the state and $350,000 from Bay County. Then, about three months after receiving the money, he announced in early December Redpine was shutting its doors. The new legal complaint says Wheeler spent only about $30,000 of the $750,000 on bringing his company here. In fact, when the money was put in Redpine’s bank account, that account was empty and was on overdraft protection.

The complaint says Wheeler paid himself $15,000, and paid his father $82,000. His father, Roland, is the co-founder of the Bowflex Exercise company, and was listed as Redpine Chairman of the Board. Wheeler also paid a person identified only as Redpines "relocation adviser" $120,000. Another $87,000 went toward paying off corporate debt and salaries of the Redpine employees in Spokane.

In short, the lawsuit says Wheeler had no intention of bringing Redpine here, and simply used the money for personal benefit and paying off his debts.

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