(CNN)The town of Mason, Tennessee, and the NAACP reached an agreement this week with the Tennessee Comptroller's Office to settle a lawsuit filed after the state attempted to gain financial control of the majority-Black town.
Majority-Black town reaches agreement with Tennessee to avoid state takeover
Mason, which is just northeast of Memphis, was thrown into the national spotlight in March after officials claimed the state comptroller's threat to take over was discriminatory. Last month, CNN reported that they accused the state comptroller of violating the Equal Protection Clause and going beyond his authority under state and federal law. The NAACP was representing the town and helped it file a lawsuit alleging that the state comptroller exceeded his authority and racially discriminated against the town in its financial dealings.
The comptroller's office had previously denied bias in the decision to oversee the town's finances.
Under the agreement reached on Wednesday, Mason officials will have a certified public accounting or law firm assist the town's leadership in completing existing and new audits, balancing the budget and provide training to officials to ensure funds are used properly prior to any new revenue from the Ford plant's opening.
On Thursday, NAACP National President Derrick Johnson called the new agreement "a great victory" for the town and allows the town's leadership to correct their financial issues themselves without being overseen by the state.
Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower told CNN in a statement that the agreement is a "significant step in restoring the town's financial health."
The leaders of the town, with a population of less than 1,500, 72% of whom are Black, thought the state was only getting involved in the town's finances because of the planned 2025 opening of $5.8 billion Ford plant about 10 miles away from Mason.
The town's officials said Mason's financial issues were a result of previous leadership's financial mismanagement and the current leadership had been working to restore stability to the towns finances.
Van Turner, the president of the NAACP Memphis branch, was hopeful about the agreement with the state and said as long as there are open lines of communication the necessary steps will happen.
"We have a lot of measures in place, checks and balances in place to make sure that this is a successful agreement,' he said.
CNN has reached out to Mason officials for further comment.