Knoxville dentist Clarence “Buzz” Nabers has sold his Gay Street building and closed the branch of his practice located there.
Josh Smith, founder and former owner of Master Service Companies, purchased the four-story building in late September for $2.8 million under the LLC Master OZ 300 Gay St.
Around that time, a Knox County Circuit Court judge denied Nabers’ motion to dismiss a proposed $50 million class-action lawsuit, allowing the case against him to move forward to what seems likely be a costly and time-consuming discovery process.
The lawsuit alleges Nabers endangered thousands of his patients by improperly sterilizing dental equipment, potentially exposing them to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Nabers still operates out of his 2061 Thunderhead Road office in West Knoxville.
A different dentist, Ethan Long, has leased the dental office space in the Gay Street building, Smith told Knox News.
Buzz Nabers controversy
Nabers was fined $11,000 in August 2019 and his license placed on probation after the Tennessee Board of Dentistry found he improperly sterilized dental equipment and forged certification documents.
More: Knoxville dentist Buzz Nabers improperly sterilized tools, forged certificates, state says
The investigation found Nabers had dental assistants perform procedures outside their scope of practice, including filling cavities and placing permanent crowns.
The state mandated that Nabers inform patients of the risks associated with some of those improper sterilization techniques. Months later, some patients received unsigned letters from Nabers’ practice stating they could obtain HIV and hepatitis tests if they “would like to be tested.”
More: Buzz Nabers dental patients urged to get tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C
Three patients filed a $50 million proposed class-action lawsuit against Nabers.
Though a judge denied the defense’s motion to dismiss the case, the class has not yet been certified. It’s a procedural step in which the judge will decide whether the case can move forward and, if so, how to break up and define the groups of individuals involved.
Smith investing profits of company sale
Smith sold his company, one of the region’s largest residential waterproofing and foundation services providers, for an undisclosed sum in November 2019 and invested $8 million into 4th Purpose Foundation, a prison reform nonprofit he created.
Smith was released from a federal prison camp about 16 years ago and founded Master Service Companies, which now has 180 employees and nearly $30 million in annual revenue.
Nabers purchased the building in November 2011 for $1.13 million, according to Knox County property records.
Knox News reporter Travis Dorman contributed to this story.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Dentist Buzz Nabers sells downtown Knoxville building and closes Gay Street office