Sunday, February 25, 2024

H2GO and Leland double down on allegations against Belville

New court filings reiterate H2GO's and Leland's claims that Belville was complicit in an illegal transfer of the sanitary district.

New legal filings by Leland and H2GO allege claims against Belville. (Port City Daily photo /JOHANNA FEREBEE)
New legal filings by Leland and H2GO reiterate old claims against Belville, and add a few new ones. (Port City Daily photo /JOHANNA FEREBEE)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY—After successfully arguing in court that H2GO Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer and Leland should be aligned in a single case against Belville, new court documents pile on additional allegations against Leland’s neighbor.

The three parties have been involved in a battle for control of the sanitary district since outgoing board members sold all of its assets to Belville in November. The newly elected H2GO board and Leland are jointly seeking financial and political relief from what they allege was an illegal transfer of assets.

The most recent court documents further outline their allegations against Belville, at one point referring to the situation as Belville’s “constructive fraud.”

RELATED: State’s chief justice sends H2GO case to a new judge

New judge

Last month, the state’s chief justice agreed with Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Thomas Lock’s decision to recommend the complicated case as “exceptional” under 2.1 of the General Rules of Practice.

Cases ruled “exceptional” are considered complex, involve multiple parties and are heard by judges that have “special areas of expertise” under the court’s procedural rules.

The fight for ownership of H2GO has since been reassigned to Charles Henry, a senior resident judge of the Superior Court of North Carolina.

Leland and H2GO’s take

When the outgoing majority of H2GO’s board voted to transfer its assets to Belville, they unlawfully put the sanitary district out of political existence, according to the recent legal filings. As purchaser, Belville became complicit in what H2GO and Leland say was an illegal maneuver, according to court documents.

Related: New legal filings allege Belville illegally subverted an election, H2GO heads back to court

The latest court filing re-alleges claims brought forth in Leland’s first filing.

Some of those claims allege the following: violations of North Carolina’s Open Meetings Law; a wanton disregard of the public good; and violations of numerous state statutes, including N.C. Gen. Stat. 130A, Article II, Part 2 and N.C. Gen. Stat. 130A-55(20).

The new allegations include:

  • Claims that Belville “lacks the financial resources and technical expertise to run the district.”
  • The sale “creates a substantial risk of harm to the customers” and Leland.
  • That Belville’s attorney, James Elridge, offered legal advice to H2GO’s executive director, Bob Walker, to facilitate the transfer.
  • That Elridge acted unreasonably and improperly

The case will continue in Brunswick County under Judge Henry.


Johanna Ferebee can be reached at johanna@localvoicemedia.com or @j__ferebee on Twitter

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