GEN­ERAL AS­SEM­BLY TO RE­CON­SIDER ‘LE­GAL NO­TICE’ BILL NEXT WEEK

The Gulf Today - Business - - Special Report5 -

The North Carolina Gen­eral As­sem­bly ap­par­ently will con­sider a new “lo­cal bill” next week that would take the busi­ness of le­gal no­tice ad­ver­tis­ing away from news­pa­pers, but just in Guil­ford County.

The ad­vo­cacy group NC Pol­icy Watch pub­lished a memo Wed­nes­day from N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-kings Moun­tain) alert­ing other mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives that the is­sue would be among those on the leg­isla­tive cal­en­dar when the ses­sion re­con­venes Wed­nes­day.

“Greens­boro/guil­ford pub­lic no­tice lo­cal bill,” Moore listed among 12 items ex­pected to come up for votes dur­ing the three-day ses­sion, in­clud­ing such other mat­ters as ju­di­cial re­dis­trict­ing and bud­get cor­rec­tions.

A “lo­cal bill” is one that pro­poses a lo­cal act that af­fects fewer than 15 coun­ties, ac­cord­ing to the UNC School of Gov­ern­ment.

If the new bill passes, lo­cal gov­ern­ments in Guil­ford County could pub­lish le­gal no­tices of court ac­tion, fore­clo­sures, pub­lic hear­ings and other le­gal mat­ters on their pub­lic web­sites, as op­posed to the cur­rent re­quire­ment that they be pub­lished in a news­pa­per that cir­cu­lates lo­cally.

Pro­po­nents say the change would save lo­cal gov­ern­ments sig­nif­i­cant amounts of money and makes sense in a dig­i­tal world. Crit­ics say that news­pa­pers and their web­sites at­tract far more read­ers and that gov­ern­ment should not have com­plete con­trol over such im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion that could be sup­pressed or ma­nip­u­lated.

The ads pro­duce a re­li­able source of rev­enue for larger daily news­pa­pers, but are a life­line to many smaller pub­li­ca­tions. For ex­am­ple, the weekly Jamestown News has said such a loss could force it out of busi­ness.

The orig­i­nal bill was filed in the N.C. Se­nate by state Sen. Trudy Wade (R-greens­boro), in what crit­ics de­picted as a vendetta against the News & Record for what she felt was un­fair cov­er­age. Wade de­nied that and said her only mo­ti­va­tion was sav­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments money and mak­ing it eas­ier for peo­ple to ac­cess pub­lic in­for­ma­tion.

The bill Wade spon­sored ear­lier this year would have cre­ated a four­county “le­gal no­tice” pi­lot pro­gramme that in­cluded Guil­ford County, but it even­tu­ally was whit­tled down to Guil­ford alone.

That bill passed both cham­bers of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly, but Gov. Roy Cooper ve­toed it. If it re-emerges next week and is ap­proved as a lo­cal bill, Cooper would not be able to veto it be­cause lo­cal bills are ex­empt from such ve­toes.

BRIDGE PROJECT

The South Cen­tral Dakota Re­gional Coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive board an­nounced Wed­nes­day that its Gover­nor’s Fund ap­pli­ca­tion for a Bald­hill Creek bridge re­pair project was ap­proved for Barnes County.

In his re­port, Stacy Bow­er­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Re­gional Coun­cil, said the $71,500 con­struc­tion project will also in­clude an ad­di­tional $10,000 for engi­neer­ing costs. The bridge over Bald­hill Creek is about 3 miles east of Daisey on a town­ship road just north of N.D. High­way 26 and west of County Road 19.

The staff con­tin­ues to work on non­profit sta­tus for the Re­gional Coun­cil, Bow­er­man said. A tax­ex­empt 501(c)3 ap­pli­ca­tion with the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice is on­go­ing to re­place the pre­vi­ous 501(c)4 sta­tus that ex­pired.

The ex­ec­u­tive board ap­proved 5-0 a req­ui­site in­cen­tive com­pen­sa­tion pay­ment for staff that is re­quired for the non­profit ap­pli­ca­tion. As a reward for pro­duc­tiv­ity the in­cen­tive places 40 per cent of non-re­stricted cash flow aside as ad­di­tional em­ployee com­pen­sa­tion in amounts set at board dis­cre­tion.

In her re­port, Brenda Moritz, busi­ness man­ager, said that as of Sept. 18 the Jamestown Cen­ter of the Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter had seven busi­ness starts, 16 jobs cre­ated, four jobs re­tained and $1.59 mil­lion in cap­i­tal fu­sion. The Jamestown Cen­ter served 76 clients and pro­vided 522 coun­sel­ing hours dur­ing the same pe­riod, she said.

Moritz pre­sented sta­tus up­dates on 37 loans with the Re­gional Coun­cil. There are 26 loans on cur­rent sta­tus with on­go­ing pay­ments along with three delin­quent loans.

Pre­ci­sion Re­sults com­pleted pay­ment of an $80,000 loan and a $23,000 loan. A $58,285 bal­ance re­mains in a third loan of $150,000.

Busi­nesses in fore­clo­sures sta­tus in­clude Pfahlf En­ter­prises for Ash­ley Ho­tel, Char­lie’s Bait in Jud and Pepi’s Par­lor in Ash­ley. Fire­house Ribs in Me­d­ina is un­der a seizure of as­sets or­der.

BANK BUYS

The New­port man­sion owned by Ben­rus CEO and Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial hope­ful Gio­vanni Fe­roce sold at auc­tion Wed­nes­day for $4.175 mil­lion to Coast­way Com­mu­nity Bank.

The his­toric Wyn­d­ham Es­tate will re­vert back to the bank, which held the $4-mil­lion mort­gage and brought about the fore­clo­sure.

While the sale is ex­pected to cover the mort­gage and the city prop­erty tax liens, there are mul­ti­ple liens and at­tach­ments on the prop­erty re­lated to Fe­roce’s busi­ness deal­ings - in­clud­ing some added just a few weeks ago.

Fe­roce didn’t at­tend the brief auc­tion, which was con­ducted by Skip Ponte Jr. of Irv­ing Shecht­man & Co., Inc., of Paw­tucket. While the auc­tion didn’t at­tract any se­ri­ous bid­ders, it was at­tended by two agents from Mott&chace­sotheby’sin­ter­na­tional Realty try­ing to sell another lot Fe­roce owns for $1.795 mil­lion. Fe­roce has been try­ing to sell the prop­erty for some time, with­out suc­cess.

He re­cently re­jected a $4 mil­lion of­fer on the prop­erty. An on­line auc­tion on Aug. 28 brought in the high­est bid of $3.75 mil­lion, but it wasn’t enough to cover the debts and clear the ti­tle of the man­sion. Fe­roce also re­jected a $1.1-mil­lion bid for a fouracre ad­join­ing lot at 0 Bren­ton Rd.

Those who placed liens and at­tach­ments on the es­tate will end up pur­su­ing Fe­roce per­son­ally. The at­tach­ments are from a va­ri­ety of cred­i­tors rang­ing from the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice to Fe­roce’s lawyers, ven­dors, land­scap­ers and for­mer em­ploy­ees. The state De­part­ment of La­bor and Train­ing is still seek­ing more than $13,000 in fines for not hav­ing work­ers com­pen­sa­tion in­sur­ance on Sky Chiefs play­ers. A new IRS tax lien was placed on the prop­erty this month.

Fe­roce was CEO of Alex & Ani when he bought the man­sion and sub­di­vided lots for $6.8 mil­lion in Jan­uary 2014 af­ter a fore­clo­sure and bank sale. Af­ter leav­ing the jew­ellery com­pany two months later, Fe­roce bought Ben­rus, a mil­i­tarystyle watch and back­pack com­pany, in­vested in RI Lo­cal ad­ver­to­rial mag­a­zine, and launched the Prov­i­dence Sky Chiefs semi-pro bas­ket­ball team.

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