Dear Friends of Hofmann Forest,
Shortly after I sent you an email last week, we found out that NCSU had negotiated a new sale agreement for Hofmann Forest. The new agreement proposes to split the property in two, with RMS (a timber company) paying $105 million for 56,000 acres, and Hofmann Forest LLC (corn farmer Jerry Walker and his co-investors) paying $25.85 million for 23,000 acres.
Later in the week, NCSU also unveiled a new website where they attempt to present their own rosy (Orwellian?) version of events related to the Hofmann Forest sale.
We have prepared several documents in response to these events, and we encourage you to read them (links below).
Here are three key facts to keep in mind about the new agreement:
1. there is still no language in the sale agreement establishing a working forest easement on Hofmann Forest, or even requiring that such an easement be established. The easement plan continues to be left to the discretion of the buyers and the military and other parties.
2. the new sale agreement does include clear language (Sections 5.3 and 5.4) allowing the entire property to be purchased by Hofmann Forest LLC (the Walkers) in the event RMS backs out of the deal at any point prior to closing. The sale agreement indicates RMS will pursue timber management on its portion of the forest, but the agreement also does not preclude RMS from immediately selling any or all of its portion of Hofmann Forest to a developer or to Walker Ag Group.
3. NCSU cannot claim that any environmental damage that could be caused by the sale is merely speculative, as NCSU and the Natural Resources Foundation are the ones who commissioned the urban development plans for Block 10 that they themselves went on to distribute to potential Hofmann buyers! (and which appeared in the leaked Hofmann Forest LLC prospectus last November).
Links to find out more:
1. please read the documents above, and then please continue to write letters to the editor of your favorite NC newspapers pointing out the deficiencies in any plan by NC State University to sell Hofmann Forest without first evaluating the environmental impacts and letting the public have our say.
2. pat yourself on the back – thanks to your efforts, we have NCSU on the ropes on this issue and their putative buyers are getting desperate about the prospects of the sale ever happening – keep it up and we’ll win completely!
3. the events last week admittedly distracted us a bit from protest planning – but if you live in Kinston, Greenville, New Bern, Wilmington, Durham/Chapel Hill, Jacksonville, Winston Salem/Greensboro, or Raleigh, and can help with organizing any kind of rally or gathering this weekend, please respond to this email with “protest help” in the subject line. At the very least, we have hundreds of new Hofmann Forest yard signs to distribute and we would love to arrange plans for sites in each of those cities where people who still need a sign can pick one up.
Thanks for all of your help!
For the forest,
Ron Sutherland, Ph.D.
NCSU Biology ’99