Belhaven mayor marches in Raleigh, hearing postponed

Published 4:45 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal is in Raleigh once again.

The mayor, joined by Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson, was set to march around the governor’s Executive Mansion Thursday afternoon to raise awareness for the Save Our Hospital campaign — “to bring attention to the Belhaven disaster,” according to O’Neal.

O’Neal has traveled to Raleigh to appeal to legislators before, including a 130-mile walk to the state’s capitol in September 2015.

The recent march follows Superior Court Judge Cy Grant’s decision to grant a 10-day temporary restraining order on Nov. 28 to halt demolition proceedings at the former Vidant Pungo Hospital. Asbestos removal, one of the first steps of the demolition process, began Nov. 14.

Eight members of Pantego Creek LLC, which owns the hospital property, recently filed a lawsuit in light of the LLC membership’s vote to demolish. The members claim the LLC’s four managers — Deb Sparrow, Brantley Tillman, Lynn Ross and Darren Armstrong — misled them in an effort to sway votes in favor of tearing down the building.

The members who filed the claim are: Mildred Bowman, Albert and Bertha Baker, Ronnie Clark, Julian Goff, O.C. Jones Jr., Sonya Jones and W. Axon Smith.

A hearing was scheduled for Thursday at the Beaufort County Courthouse, but it was postponed until Dec. 21.

Superior Court Judge Gregory P. McGuire issued an extension on the temporary restraining order until the Dec. 21 hearing.

“Therefore, it is ordered that the TRO entered by Judge Grant on November 28, 2016, is hereby extended on the same terms and pursuant to the same security until such time as the Court issues an order on the motion for preliminary injunction,” reads the court document.

Belhaven officials and some residents have fought to reopen the town’s hospital after Vidant Health closed it on July 1, 2014, due to operating on a deficit.