Updated: N.C. State University spokesman Frederick Hartman said this morning that there is no Hofmann Forest closing scheduled for September 23.
The June 30 closing date for the sale of Hofmann Forest has come and gone and the forest’s owners—N.C. State University’s Natural Resources Foundation—are anxious to move forward with the sale of the 80,000-acre property to Illinois agri-businessman Jerry Walker.
A lawsuit brought against the Foundation by a coalition of professors, foresters, landowners and wildlife conservationists is scheduled for the North Carolina Court of Appeals for the morning of August 26, after a Wake County Superior Court judge denied the coalition’s motion for an injunction to stop the sale.
But the Natural Resources Foundation’s attorney filed a motion today to push back the oral arguments until after September 30.
Ron Sutherland, an environmentalist and a plaintiff named in the complaint, says he thinks this is because Walker and N.C. State have come to an agreement to move forward with the sale September 23.
“If this source is correct, right now NCSU is hoping again to close the sale before the lawsuit heads to court, which would force the judges to nullify a $150 million deal in order to rule in our favor,” Sutherland wrote in an email.
The coalition’s attorney Jim Conner said the Appeals Court has not acted on the motion. He filed a response objecting to the motion and said he doesn’t think it’s likely the Court will grant the Foundation’s request.
N.C. State has not yet confirmed whether a transaction will take place September 23.
The INDY is also awaiting a records request for correspondence between University administrators/ N.C. State’s trustees and members of Walker’s North Carolina group, Hofmann Forest LLC.