Hofmann Forest sale off -- for now

NCSU, claiming that the buyers couldn't get financing, is scrapping plans to sell Hofmann Forest. At least until they can find another buyer.

The Endowment Fund of North Carolina State University said Friday that a deal to sell the 79,000-acre Hofmann Forest near the coast is off after the two firms planning to buy the land couldn't finalize the financial contingencies of the contract.

The research forest will continue to be owned by the endowment fund for the benefit of the university's College of Natural Resources, officials said, adding that the endowment board and the Natural Resources Foundation hope to find another buyer.

For two years, Chancellor Randy Woodson has thumbed his nose at protestors and opponents of the sale. He has stubbornly plowed ahead with plans to sell this irreplaceable natural resource to people who intended to turn the forest into corn fields and housing developments. Woodson ignored all of the objections and irresponsibly plunged headlong into a sale that raised all sorts of environmental, ethical and financial questions.

Now, with the NC Supreme Court having heard arguments about the sale, and with increasing heat from the public and some elected officials, Woodson announces that the sale is off. He says it has nothing to do with the lawsuit and the pressure. It's just that the buyers couldn't get financing, he says. The buyers support Woodson's story, but perhaps just as a ploy to get a lower price.

In an interview Friday, [buyer Resource Management Services executive vice president Ed] Sweeten said that it had been RMS’s decision to pull the plug on the deal. In the end, he said, even the renegotiated price proved too high to make sense for a timber farming investment, and RMS just couldn’t find enough financing.

The price would have to be lower to work, he said, but RMS is still interested in the property. If NCSU puts it back on the market it may try again to reach a deal.

Methinks there's more to the story than Chancellor Woodson is letting on. Especially since that's been the case throughout this thoroughly rotten saga.



Don't celebrate yet

Cancelling the sale is good news, and it offers an opportunity for all parties to engage in a more transparent, good faith process that should have already occurred.

However, given NCSU's sneaky, underhanded, deceptive, secretive manner of handling this debacle from its onset, there's much reason to believe that it's not yet time to celebrate.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

NCSU students


RALEIGH (WTVD) -- More than 100 NC State students turned the campus into a living graveyard Friday afternoon.

The group held a "die-in" inside the campus library, lying on the floor in silence to symbolize the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown that have sparked protests and outrage across the country.

NCSU students have been more activist and organize in recent years than I've ever seen when I was a student there. Fighting amendment 1, fighting for sane tuition levels, fighting against voter suppression especially those targeting students (like SB 666 to tax parents of students higher if they vote at college, or not allowing student IDs to count as government IDs even though they're issued by government institution), and so many other issues. I wonder what kind of student environmental organizing is happening at NCSU?

NCSU Hofmann protest

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

That's awesome!

Go wolfpack!

Hofman Forest Reprieve ?

Now, the REAL players will show up to devour this choice parcel. The OWNER of the land [with mineral rights?] should partner with NCSU and other N.C. forestry and agricultural institutions to formulate a 500 year plan for this legacy forest, and be satisfied with remaining stewards of this land. Is this not part of our COMMONS?