Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Belville moves to throw out case brought against town by H2GO and Leland

Belville will be in court next month to argue that Leland has no grounds to allege its neighbor illegally colluded to subvert a public election and violated state statutes

Belville, the defendant in the complicated proceedings, is asking Superior Court Judge Charles Henry to dismiss the case. Leland and H2GO Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer have alleged to Brunswick County Superior Court that Belville violated numerous state statutes in facilitating H2GO's transfer of assets. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)
Belville, the defendant in the complicated proceedings, is asking Superior Court Judge Charles Henry to dismiss the case. Leland and H2GO Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer have alleged to Brunswick County Superior Court that Belville violated numerous state statutes in facilitating H2GO’s transfer of assets. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)

BOLIVIA—After months of delay, Belville has responded to several allegations that the town illegally colluded with H2GO to undermine the outcome of an election. Its response? Belville says Leland doesn’t have a place in the case.

Belville is asking Judge Charles Henry —appointed by the state’s chief justice due to the case’s complexity–to dismiss the case.

READ MORE: Belville given until early June to respond to accusations it colluded to buy H2GO

Leland and H2GO Brunswick Water and Sewer were aligned in their case against Belville in March. Belville opposed their alignment in court, and now, is re-asserting its claim that Leland has no reason to be involved in the case.

The case

The case arises from actions taken following the November 2017 election that ultimately swung H2GO’s membership against a reverse osmosis plant.

Before the election, two members of the board had opposed building the water treatment facility. The election gave those in opposition one more seat.

During the outgoing board’s last public meeting before new members were sworn in, a 3-2 majority voted to sell all of the sanitary district’s assets to the town of Belville for $10.

During the meeting, outgoing commissioner Carl Antos said the transfer was to “save” the reverse osmosis plant.

H2GO’s current board, along with the town of Leland, have been seeking the district’s assets back from Belville since December 2017. The three municipalities have been caught up in court proceedings for months, with Belville being granted a 30-day extension to respond to Leland and H2GO’s allegations on April 20.

No case?

On the town’s last day to respond, June 4, Belville asked for a dismissal in the case.

Court documents allege that Leland “does not have standing” to bring about the claims it has made in the case. Belville also claims Leland and H2GO have failed to bring forth a claim “upon which relief may be granted.”

Mike McGill, spokesperson for the town of Belville, said Belville’s move boils down to Leland’s role in the case.

“We feel that Leland does not have standing in the case,” McGill said. “It’s as basic as that.”

When the contested transfer occurred on Nov. 28, 2017, McGill said it was carried out between dully legally elected boards. 

“Therefore it’s a legal transaction, fully in compliance with the law,” he said.

Though H2GO and Leland are aligned as plaintiffs in the case against Belville, Belville is focusing on Leland’s role in the case in its motion to dismiss.

“H2GO, if they chose to move forward, that’s a different decision,” McGill said.

Belville will appear in Brunswick County Superior Court on Friday, July 6.

To catch up with all details of this complicated case, read Port City Daily’s timeline on how reverse osmosis broke up a local water utility.

Belville’s Motion to Dismiss by Johanna Ferebee on Scribd

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the accurate date of the upcoming hearing. 


Send tips to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com or follow Johanna on Twitter @j__ferebee

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