Survey license pulled

Published 12:17 am Saturday, October 1, 2011

Washington businessman Hood Richardson’s surveying license has been suspended for a year by a professional licensing board.

Richardson said the suspension by the N.C. Board of Examiners for Engineers & Surveyors hasn’t affected his business, and that he has 30 days in which to appeal the board’s decision.

The appeal would be heard in Superior Court.

“Hood Richardson, PA, is continuing to provide surveying services to the public,” Richardson said. “We have hired a surveyor. My lawyers are looking at this situation, and we don’t know what we will do. … We are looking at the basis of an appeal. Whether we will do that or not, we haven’t made a decision.”

Richardson’s business also has an engineering component that hasn’t been affected by the board’s decision.

The board recently issued the suspension following a Sept. 14 hearing in Raleigh, confirmed Andrew Ritter, executive director of the licensing body.

The board acted in response to a complaint, Ritter said.

“It was your typical surveying case, an issue to do with a boundary line on a large tract of land,” he said.

Documentation of the case wasn’t immediately released.

Richardson’s surveying business can continue under certain conditions, Ritter related.

“He has to hire a surveyor to come in and run that portion of the company, and that person must be made a stockholder,” he said. “And all surveying must be done through that person.”

Richardson can continue to be involved in the engineering side of the business, he said.

If Richardson appeals, it’s probable his appeal will be heard in Beaufort County, Ritter forecast. Judges normally grant stays of license suspensions pending the outcomes of appeals, he said.

Ritter added that, in his 10 years of involvement with the board, no judge has declined to grant a stay while a suspension is under appeal.

The licensing board has disciplined Richardson on two prior occasions.

On Dec. 12, 2008, the board cited Richardson for an ethics violation for failing to avoid a conflict of interest by soliciting or accepting a land surveying contract from Beaufort County.

Richardson is a Beaufort County commissioner.

The contract was for survey work to be performed on land formerly occupied by the Beaufort County Home.

Richardson completed an ethics course.

In a separate matter, Richardson was ordered to complete a section of a boundary course offered by the N.C. Society of Surveyors Institute in fall 2009. This action was tied to a complaint from a resident of Blounts Creek.

Richardson completed the course.

Contributing Writer Betty Mitchell Gray contributed to this story.