Shay said that Hardin's economic development agency, which signed the deal with APPF, "deserves a less controversial partner." She added that the jail needed upgrading, and "we just cannot make infrastructure investments at this time."
The announcement comes after revelations that APPF's Michael Hilton, who led the negotiations with Hardin, has a history of criminal fraud. And numerous claims made by Hilton about the company's background and experience have been called into question.
Shay addressed those concerns, in a manner of speaking, telling the media:
We have not given you an opportunity to separate Michael Hilton from APF. For those people who feel there may be fraud, I would say to them: there was finally a contractor who was willing to come in and open that detention facility.
She added: "There was never any fraudulent intent in Hardin."
Still, Shay showed a hint of the strain that the controversy has taken. "It's been a pretty arduous process," she noted.