Joe Cooper and William H. Thomas Were Partners in Land Deal



Billboard lobbyist Joe Cooper and his client William H. Thomas were also partners in buying a piece of land on Poplar Avenue across from Bud Davis Cadillac, court records show.

The sale is now the subject of a civil lawsuit filed by developer Jackie Welch. Cooper and Thomas are each named as defendants. Welch seeks payment of a real estate commission worth approximately $40,000 for brokering the sale of the land to a bank.

Cooper helped Thomas win approval from the Memphis City Council of a billboard proposal and zoning change for the Steve Road Planned Development off I-240 near Getwell. A federal criminal complaint made public last week says Cooper, while working undercover for the FBI, paid bribes to city councilmen Rickey Peete and Edmund Ford.

City council members say Thomas is a land developer who occasionally has billboard business before the planning office and council. He has not made any public comments and declined to return the Flyer’s call.

The address of Thomas’s office on Sanderlin (but not his name) is listed in the criminal complaint against Cooper. The complaint says Cooper sold cars from Bud Davis Cadillac to drug dealers using the names of other people to secure the titles. — John Branston

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