ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN) – For 50 years, Kent Dozier has called a sprawling piece of land in Nash County home.
A few months ago, he signed an option on his roughly 32 acres of land, but said he only recently learned about the plans for it to be a casino potentially. He said had he known that from the start he never would’ve agreed to the deal.
“I’ve never bought a lottery ticket, I don’t gamble,” Dozier said. “I can’t see anybody taking hard-earned money and throw it out at a chance knowing that they’re designed to take your money. So, I’ve never gambled, and my religious belief, I think it’s against gambling.”
He said he asked the attorney who approached him about the land agreement what would go there, and said he was told it would be 80% white-collar jobs. Dozier said the attorney never mentioned details beyond that, or potential casino.
Dozier said the attorney is Tony Copeland. According to state records, Copeland is a registered lobbyist for a company that is in the casino business along with other ventures.
“I call it deception,” Dozier said.
Nash County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robbie B. Davis said developers are eyeing about 300 acres of land near I-95 and U.S. 64, including Dozier Road. Davis is against a casino in Nash County.
“I’ve spoken to about 80% of the landowners,” Davis said. “There are 17 tracts of land where it’s at, and I didn’t find any that knew it was going to be a casino.”
He said some, but not all, of the options lead back to casinos.
“It would’ve been much better for them to have known, but no it is not a law or requirement for them to be told,” Davis said.
Dozier said his family owns about 220 acres. He said he was offered millions for his slice, and if he thought there was a way to get out of the agreement he would.
“I’d give it up, walk away,” Dozier said. “I mean, I don’t have to have that money.”
Dozier said he hasn’t reached out to Copeland since learning about a potential casino because he already signed the deal. If the land is not purchased by the end of the year, the option does expire, according to Dozier.
CBS 17 reached out to Copeland to hear from him and is waiting to hear back.