I just received from a friend.
I’d like to remain anonymous in what I’m about to tell u but I welcome u
to share this thru email.
I’m returning now from being in Gatlinburg. I was shocked to
notice that many of the shops are replaced by new ones. The owners have
foreign accents. I would guess 80% are now run by Indians Pakistanis and
now Ukrainians! I asked one lady where she was from and she said
Ukraine. I asked 2 other shop owners where they were from: Ukraine. I
jokingly asked ” did you folks buy up the whole left side of Gatlinburg? She
with barely veiled hatred and distain said” Yeah, pretty much”.
I tried to ask a vendor whom I asked first if he was American, about
what was happening with all the foreigners. He refused to
even talk about it. I asked another group and they seemed afraid but one
woman spoke up with an attitude of careless determination and told us that
the chamber of commerce was Iranians. That there was nothing they could
do but try to stand. The others looked at her and each other
open up a little. She said the town was being bought up by
a rich lawyer called Joe Baker and that he is renting the shops out to
foreigners because they can afford higher rent since they don’t have to pay
taxes for 5 years. She said the foreigners change the business name and
sell it to a relative and it continues tax free for 5 more years.
It’s destroying Gatlinburg. It feels creepy. I asked what the religious
affiliation of most of the foreigners was–they said: MUSLIM!!!!
A Muslim foothold in the mountains of Tennessee!
Very scary and poignant!