This kind of news (TRUTH) in Cleveland County is only reported by Robert A. Williams.
The Cleveland Community College Board of Trustees is tainted with a bunch of wild and crazy Rogue Republicans. Wes Westmoreland, Robert “Luke” Queen, Dennis Bailey, and “Coon” Democrat Rev. Dr. Lamont Littlejohn; just to name a few names. This latest fiasco starts with former and never elected State Senator Wes Westmoreland.
Wes Westmoreland was appointed State Senator in January of 2012 to fill the unexpired term of Senator Debbie Clary who had resigned from that office at the peak of her political power and under suspicious circumstances. Westmoreland was selected by the Republican Party Executive Committee to fill that position because he promised NOT to run for re-election. Folks, that should give you a good idea on what kind of “smelly mess” scheme Wes Westmoreland and the Republican Party were up to.
About all I can figure out about the time in office of the “Honorable” Senator Wes Westmoreland was his part in passing Senate Bill 951 (Sessions Law 2011).
Sections 1 and 2 of Senate Bill 951 states:
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. The State of North Carolina shall convey to the Board of Trustees of Cleveland Community College, for consideration of one dollar ($1.00), all its right, title, and interest in the property used for the former Cleveland County Correctional Facility, more particularly described as that portion of Parcel 22252 Cleveland County, deed reference Book 4F, Page 064, consisting of approximately 13.25 acres currently allocated to the Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Corrections, SPO File No. 23-008. The conveyance is subject to a reversionary interest reserved by the State. The property shall be conveyed to the Board of Trustees of Cleveland Community College for so long as it is utilized for educational purposes consistent with the mission of the North Carolina Community College System.
SECTION 2. The State of North Carolina shall convey the real property described in Section 1 “as is” “where-is” without warranty. The State makes no representations or warranties concerning the title to the property, the boundaries of the property, the uses to which the property may be put, zoning, local ordinances, or any physical, environmental, health, and safety conditions relating to the property. All costs associated with the conveyance of the property shall be borne by Cleveland Community College.
Note that other sections of that same Senate Bill 951 conveyed the Haywood County Prison to the Haywood County Commissions for $1.00, under the same conditions.
Also, Note that this law prevented the Cleveland County Commissioners from acquiring the Cleveland County Prison and perhaps caused Cleveland County Commissioners to spend what will likely turn out to be a $150,000,000 Jail and Courtroom complex as is presently planned. So, the county will spend $150 Million so Cleveland Community College can get the prison property for $1.00.
There is more!!! Much More.
After sitting on this deal arranged by the “Super-Smart-Ass” Wes Westmoreland for almost 10 years, the CCC Board of Trustees, including Wes Westmoreland and the other Rogue Republicans finally get around to acquiring the prison property. And boy were they surprised.
But first, they drummed up a $1,500,000 renovation plan and submitted it to the State for funding. I am sure Speaker of the House Tim Moore worked hard to help CCC get that funding approved for CCC and apparently for his Rogue Republican Buddies. Like Dennis Bailey who claims he was responsible for getting Tim Moore elected in the first place.
But, now the “fun” is just about to begin.
The Minutes of the CCC BoT’s September 11, 2012 meeting contains this passage:
SENATE BILL 951, TRANSFER OF PRISON PROPERTY:
Dr. Thornburg shared Senate Bill 951 with the Board. The Bill, introduced by Senator Wes Westmoreland, allows the College to acquire the former Cleveland Correctional Unit. If the College is able to negotiate operating costs with the County, the property would be used for additional instructional and storage space. Discussions about a joint partnership with the County are in the beginning stages.
Now, 10 years later, there is “Hell to Pay!!”
The January 12, 2022, CCC BoT Meeting agenda has included information that contains this passage:
A phase I environmental study was completed during July (2021). The study found underground storage tanks.
A phase II environmental study was completed to investigate the USTs. Three areas of concern remain. Further exploration of the areas of concern is currently underway. December 2021 Update Two of the three environmental areas of concern were eliminated. The third area is located in one corner of the property and is contaminated. Rather than remediating the contamination, the College is working with the State Property Office to exclude this area from the transfer. A survey is underway. After the survey is completed, the State Property Office’s Attorney will prepare a new legal description. Once the new legal description is completed, the authorizing legislation will need to be updated to transfer the property described in the new legal description to the College.
I have a better solution:
Remediate the site’s underground storage tank contamination. This is a ticking “time bomb” of pollution. Something CCC should have had done years ago to eliminate the spread.” And, only massive corruption within the State of North Carolina would allow CCC to just “survey” out the polluted area and leave the pollution for the State to figure out what to do. Which would be nothing.
Cleveland County, take over the Prison property, Remediate the pollution and build a bigger “satellite” Jail on the property.
Scrap the $150,000,000 uptown jail complex project and tell the DAs, Judges and lawyers, County Manager, etc. to make do with what they already have for the other 25 years left on the facility’s expected life.
Demand the Cleveland County Schools immediately develop a strategic plan (for Commissioner’s approval) for replacing the much older (than the current jail and Courthouse) schools based on equal facilities and “cookie-cutter,” modern and energy-efficient designs as a model.
Make CCC finish any viable projects they already have started and fully justify any additional funding from anybody.
Call on the State Auditor to immediately audit the CCS and CCC financials for criminal activity.
And, last but not least; Commissioners, root out the Rogue Republicans from the CCC Board of Trustees as soon as possible. If not sooner.
PS: I do not plan on attending the CCC BoT meeting Tuesday. However, I might show up on campus and take a self-guided tour to count the empty classrooms while the BoTs are meeting. And having their catered-in meal while they are all patting themselves on the back. All the while conveniently forgetting the reality that 20,000 Cleveland County citizens are on Food Stamps because their Cleveland County Education failed to teach them the skills needed to hold down good enough jobs.
PS II: Everything in this article is based on public records. Except for my conclusions and “better sense” recommendations. That is based purely on observations and applied common sense.