GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO RECONSIDER ‘LEGAL NOTICE’ BILL NEXT WEEK
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.
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.
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.