Judge rules against group seeking to delay NHRMC sale over release of documents

Judge rules against group seeking to delay NHRMC sale over release of documents

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A Superior Court judge has ruled against a group who filed a lawsuit seeking to delay the sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center until all documents related to the transaction were turned over.

Save Our Hospital, Inc. filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, seeking an order from the court to compel New Hanover County and NHRMC to release the documents that the group said were public record.

The suit also sought to bar the county and NHRMC from entering into a contract to sell the county-owned hospital system to Novant Health until those records were produced and could be viewed by the public.

“We are pleased that Save our Hospital’s motion has been denied by the court. This reinforces the county and hospital’s position that we have been transparent and open throughout this process – with Save our Hospital, its representatives, and the entire community," said Julia Olson-Boseman, chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, in a statement about the decision.

However, Commissioner Rob Zapple is expressing concerns about potentially moving forward too quickly. He believes there are missing details in the contract that he wants ironed out before the agreement is finalized including how the proposed community foundation will be run to manage the billion dollar proceeds from the sale.

“It’s really important to figure out whose going to be directing that money," Zapple said. "What is the board of directors going to look like? How are they going to be stood up and how’s that going to be organized?”

Zapple urges everyone with questions or interest to attend the final public input meeting on Monday, September 28 at the Historic New Hanover County Courthouse. It begins at 5 p.m. He says all five commissioners will be present.

“Please, come down and express your feelings or just come down and see what’s going on. This is the biggest deal that any of us who live here now -- living -- will go through in New Hanover County," he said. "It’s huge. This kind of money only comes along, once every several generations so please get involved.”

The board of commissioners is expected to make a final vote on the sale during its meeting on Oct. 5.

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