This story begins in 1999 when the Beech Mountain Town Council entered into a 30-year lease with Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary for the amount of $1. In March 2012, the town’s attorney, Four Eggers, sent notice to the sanctuary that it had violated the lease. Two months after that, the town filed a complaint in the Watuga County Small Claims Court calling for an immediate eviction of Genesis from the property.
Genesis made a quick appeal, countering with its own claim that alleged unfair and deceptive trade practice, violation of civil and constitutional rights, breach of lease and inverse condemnation. The town responded in October 2012 with a counterclaim that denied the sanctuary’s allegations. The business dispute had been going on for over a year before it reached the North Carolina Superior Court.
In mid-May, a North Carolina Superior Court Judge ruled that the lease was valid. This ruling was made after lawyers for Genesis filed a motion for a partial summary judgement. The ruling is a victory for the sanctuary. The town’s main argument was that a former town council did not follow proper procedure when it agreed to the 1999 lease. The ruling that the lease is valid effectively puts an end to this line of argument. According to town officials, the recent ruling is only one step in the process. The civil suit is ongoing.
If this case had turned out differently, the wildlife sanctuary might have been forced out of its present location. Lease disputes have the potential to cause a great deal of harm to a business. An experienced commercial law attorney might be able to review a lease contract and provide assistance to a business that is engaged in litigation.
Source: High Country Press, “Judge Rules In Favor of Genesis That Lease With Beech Mountain Is Valid, Ongoing Civil Suit Continues“, Jesse Wood, May 28, 2013