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Jimmy Hopkins attorneys up because the Financial institution of America constructing story will get messier

ByEditorialTeam

Oct 6, 2022

Editor’s word: A number of hours after we recorded this podcast, Jimmy Hopkins confirmed that he had retained authorized counsel. So, whereas we do not talk about a number of the under within the podcast, there are some particulars under.

On Thursday, the Rountree Losee regulation agency notified New Hanover County that they had been representing Hopkins — and put county officers on discover, outlining the statutory case that County Chair Julia Olson-Boseman had overstepped each county coverage and state regulation in eradicating Hopkins (you possibly can learn the discover, under). CFCC’s Board Chair William “Invoice” Cherry and the Board of Commissioners had been carbon-copied within the discover, as properly.

The letter from Hopkins prompt the county take the coverage the September 26 ‘elimination letter’ from Olson-Boseman was “null, void and of no impact” — and notes that Hopkins reserves the precise to take authorized motion.

The county confirmed the receipt of the letter.

“Will probably be reviewed by the County Lawyer’s Workplace. As that is now pending litigation, no extra remark from the county will likely be made right now,” a county spokesperson replied.

That is solely the newest query about whether or not the county exceeded its authority in eradicating Hopkins.

Whereas the county has stood by Olson-Boseman’s resolution, saying Hopkins had unexcused absences, the school seems to don’t have any methodology for monitoring excused versus unexcused absences — and Hopkins claims he gave correct discover any time he missed a gathering.

CFCC Trustee Ray Funderburk, in addition to State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who sits on the state group school board, each say the transfer was illegitimate.

Hopkins was eliminated roughly two weeks after stepping into what he described as a disagreement with CFCC President Jim Morton. Hopkins says they argued about CFCC’s request to the county to buy the previous Financial institution of America constructing in an effort to considerably increase the school’s nursing program — a serious services resolution about which Hopkins, chair of the Board of Trustees services committee, had been stored at the hours of darkness.

However Hopkins’ abrupt and doubtlessly retaliatory elimination is simply a part of the story.

The constructing buy which sparked Hopkins’ argument with Morton has since been unanimously accredited by county commissioners for debt-financing, with some vital caveats.

The practically $12-million deal comes with questions — like how a lot is the constructing price? (The county hasn’t but carried out an appraisal.) There’s additionally the problems of how the enlargement will work, how it is going to be funded, the way it will recruit, and the way it will work with UNCW’s nursing program and Novant to advance and make use of nursing college students. It additionally comes with strings, not less than $14 million that the county must add to the mortgage in an effort to renovate and upfit an empty workplace constructing into laboratory and classroom house.

And people caveats? One is due diligence, which may give the county to reply the appraisal query. One other is approval by the LGC — the Native Authorities Fee, the wing of the State Treasure’s workplace, headed up by Treasurer Folwell.

And that, in a means, brings the story full circle to Folwell — who along with the calling for the county to rescind Hopkins’ dismissal has additionally criticized, and successfully quashed, two different New Hanover County actual property offers, particularly Venture Grace, and the Authorities Heart redevelopment. The latter featured the identical developer, Brian Eckel, who put the Financial institution of America constructing underneath contract in August.

Eckel brings help, and $2 million, from Novant and his hope appears to be that he can kickstart authorities stakeholders — CFCC, New Hanover County, UNCW, and even the state — into motion to deal with a disaster that few can dispute is reaching a dire degree: the nationwide nursing scarcity.

Nevertheless it stays to be seen if that plan will win over Folwell, who has turn into more and more important, and skeptical, of New Hanover County’s fiduciary duty and transparency.

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