MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A business owner is suing the city of Memphis for reportedly violating an agreement, and replacing his minority-owned business with two white businesses.
Marcus Belton owns Big Foot Tires and Trucking. He's filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that his agreement to provide labor for the city's fleet vehicles was cut short.
The city hired Belton in 2010 for a four-year commitment composed of a one-year contract with a three-year extension option.
The lawsuit alleges the city verbally agreed to the extension if Belton relocated to a larger facility.
He agreed, moving from his business on Watkins Street to Thomas Street.
The lawsuit claims the city contracted with Caucasian-majority firms to perform tire services in 2012.
In October of that year, the city told Belton that it was terminating his service and his contract.
WREG met with Belton and his attorney, Drayton Berkley, Tuesday.
Belton said the city didn't offer a clear reason for ending the agreement, as he had never received complaints.
Berkley said the city unlawfully backed out of the verbal agreement to extend the services.
The lawsuit cites the Equal Protection Clause, because Big Foot is an African American firm.
"In 2014, as a minority contractor, as a citizen of Memphis, where Dr. King was killed, I'm not only going to speak for me, I'm also speaking for other contractors. There's a problem in this city," Belton said.
Belton said he has sine relocated his shop again to downsize.
Without the city's business, he said he is going bankrupt.
He invested between $150,000 and $220,000 in equipment to handle the city's workload, and is asking for damages.