by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond by Keith T. Barber & Jordan Green

Developers pledge to proceed on hotel Despite forfeiting local bond allocation

A lawyer for a group of developers proposing to build a luxury hotel in downtown Greensboro said in a legal document submitted on April 15 that Urban Hotel Group and elm street Center llC “have mutually agreed to forego pursuit of the Recovery Zone Bond funding allocation previously identified by the city of Greensboro and the county of Guilford.”

The statement was made in the context of an objection to a request by rival hoteliers Mike Weaver and Dennis Quaintance for production of documents in a civil suit filed for the purpose of invalidating votes of approval given by the Greensboro City Council and the Guilford County Commission. Eric Pristell, a lawyer for Urban Hotel Group, also said in the legal document: “With the passing of the April 15, 2010 Recovery Zone Bond deadline, and the bonds identified by the city of Greensboro and county of Guilford not having been issued or substantial progress not having been made,” Quaintance and Weaver’s lawsuit “is moot.”

Bridget Chisholm, a principal of Urban Hotel Group, confirmed that the developers were unable to obtain an inducement resolution from the Guilford County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Bond Authority, with the result that the allocation set aside for the hotel project reverts back to the state pool. Chisholm said the hotel developers will apply directly to the NC Department of Commerce for the bond allocation.

“We are moving forward,” she said. “We think it’s a great project.”

Weaver said on Tuesday that lawyers for the plaintiffs and for the city and county would have to meet to work things out, but if Chisholm’s group is truly forfeiting the local allocation he would expect the lawsuit to be dropped.

Charlie Winkler, a spokesman at the NC Department of Commerce, refused to rule out the possibility that a project could receive bond allocation without support from the local bond authority, but said such a scenario would be unusual. “These projects are induced at the local level,” he said. “Our actions almost always follow the action at the local level. It’s theoretically possible that project X could be sent directly to the state, but it’s unlikely to happen.” — JG

Ag declines to join states’ suit Ag

NC solicitor General Christopher G. Browning Jr. has recommended to Attorney General Roy Cooper that the state of North Carolina not sign on as a plaintiff in a lawsuit by Florida and 12 other states attempting to invalidate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Obama in March.

Browning wrote that the supreme Court “has made it clear that a duly ratified Act of Congress is presumed to be constitutional.”

The solicitor general also attacked two other planks of the Florida lawsuit.

Noting that the plaintiff states allege that the healthcare reform bill “commandeers” the states and their employees “as agents of the federal government’s regulatory scheme at the states’ own cost” and that such action violates the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, Browning responds: “Medicaid, however, is a voluntary program. states are free to choose not to participate in this program. Florida and other plaintiff states may drop out of the Medicaid program and not incur the additional costs of which they complain.” — JG