Pave Paradise....

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 22, 2003

Cam Hill to Explain UNC’s Pursuit of his Cameron Ave Property

Cam Hill, newly elected member of the Chapel Hill Town Council, is in negotiations with UNC regarding the possible sale of his property at 606 Cameron Avenue to the university.

The sale of Hill’s house to the university has caused much discussion, confusion and misinformation. With this in mind, Hill is announcing a press conference to explain all details of the deal and to answer questions about his negotiations with the university. The press conference is scheduled for 3:00 pm on Monday, November 24 at Hill’s 606 Cameron Avenue property.

Briefly, in Hill’s own words, this is the story: “Negotiations started about 5 years ago when the university approached me about buying my Cameron Ave. property, which is located between two parcels owned by UNC. Negotiations ended when I rejected the university’s offer. At that time, UNC officials told me they wanted the property for a future inter-modal transport station, a place where people would get off trains and onto buses.

“In June, 2002, I decided to add on to my house. My plan was to add a second floor and three bedrooms so my three children would each have their own bedroom. I obtained a building permit, got a loan and moved my family into the small, 625 square foot, one bedroom, single bathroom rental house on the back of the property.

“Construction started that September. Soon thereafter, UNC brought Rebecca Clark’s two land parcels in my block which meant they owned the whole block except for my property. UNC stated they were going to build a parking lot on their properties. I went to the Town Council and asked for help stopping UNC’s parking lot plan. The Council wrote UNC a letter and I wrote newspaper columns in the Herald to let people know what was happening. UNC told me that they could build a parking lot without any zoning approvals. It became clear that continuing work on my addition would be very risky, if not foolish. Even if completed, a residence located between parking lots would have greatly diminished value. And at any point the university could attempt to claim the property through eminent domain.

“In February, 2003, UNC asked if I would negotiate again regarding the sale of my property. I told them I would if the negotiations would proceed quickly; and that I would need to come out of the negotiations with another four-bedroom house in Chapel Hill. UNC agreed and I stopped construction on the house. I told UNC I would sell for $729,000 and, after a while, they countered with $180,000. Negotiations dragged and it appeared that UNC was in no hurry.

“In late July UNC suggested that they would trade 412 Rosemary St. for my property. I rejected that offer but in September, after much back and forth, I reluctantly agreed to trade 606 Cameron Ave. for 412 E. Rosemary St. plus $100,000. I currently have no signed contract.”

Come one, come all.....

Issues: 

Total votes: 189

Comments

Another Sunday, another editorial, this one in the CHH. For those who think this is still a lot about nothing, please read the editorial carefully and then explain where you think that they are wrong in their judgments.

"Hill's candor not up to town's standards"

http://www.herald-sun.com/opinion/chhedits/57-419178.html

And what of e-p-u's candor? Sniffsniffsniff...

I don't think this is about Hill vs. Bachman, and I'm not sure how many people voted for Cam as opposed to a coalition of candidates, "headed" by someone who is on record saying he isn't interested enough in Cam's situation to even follow it. Who knows if the outcome would have been the same if voters knew what they know now, and we will never know.

Now if the papers had hammered home this issue and if UNC had made any comments about it, what would people have accused both of doing? Correct, the media would have been accused of improperly influencing the outcome of an election and UNC-CH would have been accused of actively working to defeat their critic. Hence, they can't win, and as a result, we the public loose even more.

Having said that, I end my participation in this thread --- and let the voices rise-up in unison with a thunderous AMEN!

Personally, I'm getting sick of all the speculation by the

media about this. Here's my two cents worth:

Cam beat Dianne by 1180 votes. The employee dispute

may have helped Cam by a hundred or so, but it didn't win the

election for him. Both candidates presented their positions

well and the voters liked Cam better -- lots better.

How much about the house swap should Cam reveal? Here

are some questions based on several incidents that

have happened in local elections in the last two decades.

Please ask yourself whether a candidate should present to

the public:

State and Fed income tax forms of the last 15 years?

Balance of home mortgage and other substantial debts?

Current salaries and income from all other sources?

DUI and other small-time offenses?

Property ownership of all types? (This is the only one that

is public and easily accessible to anyone)

What companies the candidate or his/her immediate family

owns or has a management role in?

Any current negotiations with any Chapel Hill business (including

UNC) that ever does business with the town council?

All degrees received and current student status?

In my opinion, if this stuff were fair game to be in the papers,

no one would ever run for council, school board, aldermen,

commissioners, or even dogcatcher.

Can Cam still be a neighborhood advocate? Sure he can.

He had a great statement on that at his press conference

when he said (approx quote): UNC evicted me from

the neighborhood that I loved and that my kids and I lived in for 20 years IN ORDER TO BUILD A PARKING LOT! I'll never forget it.

(End of quote)

Cam knows first hand just how big a bully

any government with the power to condemn property

can be -- he's felt it first hand.

The comment about the parking lot strikes doubly deep

to anyone who cares about environment or the future

of mass transit. When someone takes something from you, you at least hope that it's for a good reason.

Quoting e-p-u, my comments in brackets. I should preface this by saying that I'm assuming that Ted Vaden wrote the editorial for the CHN, since that's one of his duties. I've done that because it's easier to write when you're not talking about an indistinct "they":

"The CHN who endorsed Cam says it pretty well, DVM. Of course, you are free to reject their (and others') thinking on this:

'Now, the disclosure of the deal undermines Hill’s credentials as a neighborhood advocate"

[Cam Hill has always said that the back-and-forth he's had with the university over their plans to build a parking lot on his corner, requiring him to decide either to move or to live in a parking lot, was the thing that motivated him to become politically active as an advocate for neighborhoods. Ted Vaden's argument implies that the only way for Hill to _not_ have undermined his "credentials as a neighborhood advocate" would have been to refuse any deal -- thereby avoiding the "disclosure of the deal," which Vaden sloppily makes the crux of this particular argument -- and either let his property be condemned or live in a parking lot. I think that's too much to ask, even of a "neighborhood advocate." As Kirk Ross has pointed out, there are plenty of people along Mason Farm Road and other places at the periphery of the University who are currently negotiating deals to avoid the outright condemnation of their property. Does this mean they have abandoned any claim to being "neighborhood advocates" if they don't go down with the ship? Or, is it possible that they could actually be politicized on behalf of neighborhoods as a result of their experience? Ted Vaden's position is that of someone whose house isn't threatened.]

"and potentially erodes his effectiveness as a council member in the crucial town-gown negotiations to come over Carolina North and other university expansion issues. As long as he goes to council meetings from a home supplied to him"

[My understanding is that they're buying his house, and that he's buying the university's. It may be a matter of semantics, but I think Vaden is slinging the hyperbole here; "supplied" implies something very different from "sold." People may dislike the fact that Hill got a good deal in that transaction, but that "good deal" is only a good deal if you look at it only as a housing deal. It's just as likely that the value of Cam Hill's property, to the university, lay not in his house -- obviously -- but in its future value as a parking lot and then, whatever else they want to build on it. And that value could very well dwarf the value of the whole transaction put together. The very fact that the University plans to knock the house down should tell you that they've valued the property based on something other than the value of Hill's house.]

"by the university under such murky circumstances,"

[What's murky about it? It seems pretty straight forward at this point. Vaden is working an old rhetorical technique popular among journalists who would like to say something but don't have the evidence to back it up. So they use meaningless but evocative words like "murky" or "questionable" to imply something they can't prove.]

"his impartiality will be questioned."

[Another favorite technique of journalists -- to refer darkly to the asking of "questions," as if the questions themselve are evidence of something. Nevermind that there might be answers. This journalistic technique is a cousin to the phrase, "questions are being asked," which gets used to imply that someone is on the ropes and that they've done something dirty, when in reality it's actually a solipsism -- the journalist reporting that "questions are being asked" is often the very person asking the questions. Also in this lineage of passive-voice obscurations is the Nixonian "mistakes were made" -- a classic!]

"He can’t vote for a university-favored position, no matter how justified, without raising questions"

[There are those pesky "questions" again! If you'll recall, I was interested in hearing how the actual mechanics of Cam Hill's alleged conflict would work. I'm very aware of the damage that an "appearance of conflict" can do, and it's a smart politician who avoids them, but I was more interested in understanding what the actual conflict would be. I can't think of very many decisions made by the Council, especially regarding the University, after which "questions" weren't raised about why this Council member voted that way, and why this other Council member voted another way. Again, the likelihood of "questions" shows very little. I'd like to hear less wailing and gnashing of teeth about the "appearance of conflict," and more about the _actual_ "conflict." There's been very little attention paid to the latter, by my reckoning, in this case.]

"about his objectivity. Even if he votes every time against the university, we’ll wonder if his motivation isn’t just to prove his independence."

[That's a nice little trick Vaden is pulling here. No matter how he votes it's evidence of his conflict! Oh wait, not evidence of his _conflict_, exactly, but an occasion to _wonder_ at his _motivation_. Well, who's doing the wondering? Vaden seems to expect that his politicians will relieve him of all uncertainty about the world and their motivations, which is preposterously naive and he knows it. I do recognize that this same argument could be used to support Dianne Bachman, or at least the portion of the "conflict" issue that only invoked her "appearance of conflict." Ironic.]

"We feel for Hill at the start of a promising council term, because much of this mess is not of his own making. But the only honorable way for him to eliminate the doubt

[Again, Vaden is arguing that it is a politician's responsibility to remove the doubt others might have, rather than the responsibility of a, say, newspaper to illuminate the issue and remove the doubt through a presentation of the evidence. Vaden seems to think that amorphous doubt will itself cripple the Councilman, and I fail to see how. If it persists it may keep him from being elected again, but that's Cam Hill's problem, not Ted Vaden's. That Vaden may "doubt" or "wonder" or "question" a decision won't keep Hill from making them, and thus there's nothing about "doubt" or "wonder" or "questions" that can keep Hill from being an effective Councilman if he makes those decisions wisely, whatever the "doubt." Again, this also applies to the case of Dianne Bachman, but only regarding the "appearance of conflict." ]

"and take his seat with a clean slate is to make the problem of the house swap go away."

[What problem? Vaden has now ellided the difference between his own "doubt" and an actual "problem." Again, I had asked that someone lay out the mechanics of Hill's actual conflict "problem," and I haven't seen it yet. Vaden wants to conflate the "appearance of conflict" with conflict itself, and I'm not buying it.]

"That means telling the university, thanks anyway, but the Rosemary Street house complicates the deal too much. Hill should either take fair-market value"

[What market? The market for houses, or the market for commercial/industrial property? The latter use is clearly what the university intends, so should we apply that standard? Or, even better, should we be realistic about what "fair market" means -- that is, the value of a house is exactly what someone is willing to pay for it. Vaden is suggesting that Hill should rebuff the Univeristy's offer and insist that they offer him less than they've already decided it's worth. Remind me to buy my next house from Ted Vaden!]

"for his property in cash or keep his house, and proceed with being the best Town Council member he can be."

[Again, despite Vaden's vague allusions to murkiness and doubt, there's nothing preventing Hill from "being the best Town Council member he can be" right now, because the appearance of conflict is not conflict itself.]

Again, I ask: would someone describe the actual conflict for me? I'm familiar with all the details of the "appearance of conflict," I was just looking for something meatier -- some description of how this conflict would actually play out.

Anyone up for starting a recall petition?

Not too much, John A. In fact, the town played a pretty shameful role in the Art building parking lot seizure.

Joseph K. asks, "You only have to look back a couple years to see how agressive UNC can be in acquiring land for parking lots. Does anyone remember the great old house next to the Art building? It took them 10 years, but they finally got it. What about the land over by ACC? Or any other of the numerous examples over the last 20 years?"

And the difference in aggressiveness between these cases and High School 3, as well as the Town's similar behavior over the years is?

The CHN who endorsed Cam says it pretty well, DVM. Of course, you are free to reject their (and others') thinking on this:

"Now, the disclosure of the deal undermines Hill’s credentials as a neighborhood advocate and potentially erodes his effectiveness as a council member in the crucial town-gown negotiations to come over Carolina North and other university expansion issues. As long as he goes to council meetings from a home supplied to him by the university under such murky circumstances, his impartiality will be questioned. He can’t vote for a university-favored position, no matter how justified, without raising questions about his objectivity. Even if he votes every time against the university, we’ll wonder if his motivation isn’t just to prove his independence.

"We feel for Hill at the start of a promising council term, because much of this mess is not of his own making. But the only honorable way for him to eliminate the doubt and take his seat with a clean slate is to make the problem of the house swap go away. That means telling the university, thanks anyway, but the Rosemary Street house complicates the deal too much. Hill should either take fair-market value for his property in cash or keep his house, and proceed with being the best Town Council member he can be."

It seems that e-p-u and Eric aren't making a distinction between a possible on-going conflict of interest and a possible one-time conflict of interest.

I wouldn't have had a problem with Dianne Bachman doing a one-time land swap with UNC. I can't see how you infer those here that had problems with her candidacy wouldn't feel the same . I did have a problem with her not being specific in how she differed from UNC and the pro-development community . Of course, working within the same department that makes land-use decisions obviously could put her in potential conflict, why deny it? Instead, she could have defused those concerns by being specific instead of coy.

If you look at Cam Hill's campaign, if the UNC deal caused him to mute his rhetoric it was hard to tell. He didn't seem to pull any punches. Suggesting that his platform of "vigorous defense of neighborhoods" was just an attempt to improve his bargaining position is really out there. All the campaigning, all the forums, just to get a better deal?

You only have to look back a couple years to see how agressive UNC can be in acquiring land for parking lots. Does anyone remember the great old house next to the Art building? It took them 10 years, but they finally got it. What about the land over by ACC? Or any other of the numerous examples over the last 20 years?

But what of Cam Hill's future decisions on UNC issues before the council? Someone thinks that this one deal will call in to question every pro-UNC position vote he makes. Are they for real? Do they think that he's going to be culling favors from UNC in order to facilitate his next house swap?

e-pluribus-unum - "one from many"

"And Jesus asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, 'My name is Legion: for we are many'". Mark 5:9

While we're talking about this conflict of interest, would someone lay out for me how it would work? I'm not asking for a recounting of everything that has happened up to this point, and the details of the real estate deals and all that, but an imagining of what would run through Cam Hill's mind as a result of this deal, that would bring him into conflict with his duty to serve the interests of his constituents. That is, what would his _reasoning_ be if he were to vote against the interests of his constituents as a result of all this.

I'm having trouble seeing it.

Barry, Cam kindly dropped me a line privately about this, and I have now corresponded privately with him about how I think he ought to have responded to the disclosure of the details of this deal, and so I think I'm going to just shut up about all of this now.

It's not that I don't have a response to your question -- I do -- it's just that I don't think anything good will come from continuing to debate it publicly here.

Barry, respectfully, I have to disagree with your take. The editorials, column and letters in the papers, including this morning's CHH are pretty much making the same point. What this is about is not Cam's ability to negotiate or take care of his family, or his ability to get UNC to price his property at such a ridiculously high dollar amount. It is about a candidate running for office talking about someone else’s potential conflict of interest while he is actively engaged in one of his own. Just about every response from Cam is a slightly different story with slightly different facts. What this is about is some people caring about their ability to believe someone that they elected without having to play games like asking the exact right question to get information that they as voters should receive without playing games. What this is about is the odor surrounding this whole deal (on the part of both parties) that some apparently just can't seem to detect.

Eric,

I don't accept your given, asserted in (b), that ethics required Cam to volunteer the details (as opposed to the existence) of negotiations between him and the Bully nor would I, if in Cam's place, have felt obliged to disclose those details if asked. Why should he/I? Doesn't that mean, turning your assumptions around, that Cam was required by some ethical consideration (which has yet to be identified) to choose between running for the Council and getting whip-sawed by UNC (or having his legs cut out from under him by someone willing to pay more for the house)? Surely "ethics" doesn't require that (unless we're going to make all candidates for Council put all their property in a blind trust, thereby protecting us from electing someone who would then go on to collect $167 million a year from UNC or Halliburton after taking office).

Is that somehow different from telling me that, should I run for County Commissioner, I'm required to reveal my annual income because some people might vote for my opponent on the grounds that I make too much (or too little)?

Do you (or anyone else) really believe that after a long, bitter fight with the Bully, Cam is now going to reverse his position that UNC must be accountable? I've been dense before, but I just don't get what all this is really about.

Barry, from your third paragraph I take you to mean that Cam had sound strategic reasons for keeping the details of his negotiations with UNC private.

That's plausible. (It's inconsistent with what Cam has told us, of course--Cam has told us that he would have been willing to share the details if somebody had just asked him the right question.)

But if Cam was in the middle of a negotiating process that (a) he had good reason to keep private, and (b) ethics required him to volunteer, or (as he says) at least to disclose if asked, then doesn't that mean Cam either (a) shouldn't have run for Council, or (b) should have suspended all negotiations until after the Council run? Is it really your view that the ethical thing was BOTH to keep the details private AND run for Council?

I regret that I was unable to attend the news conference on this yesterday.

The line in the news stories that intrigues me is this: "I, in no way, at any time, tried to hide this deal from anyone. I gave people plenty to nibble on or bite on to ask this question." (I took that from the DTH. A very similar quote appears in the Herald Sun.)

From my perspective, this is where the problem lies. Campaign ethics shouldn't have to devolve to a game of "20 Questions."

The "issues raised in the two editorials" about Cam's house swap were sour grapes by papers too lazy to do a little digging on their own. Cam told lots of folks, including Ken Ross (then with the CH News) during the campaign, he was negotiating with the Neighborhood Bully. He was, and he stood his ground until they blinked.

Cam is not an employee of UNC, yet John A., e-p-u, and others want to compare him (thereby creating some sort of ill-defined "conflict of interest"") to someone who IS an employee of UNC and subject to all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle influence by the NB.

Others on these postings knock Cam for failing to disclose all the details of his negotiations. If anyone's interested I'll be happy to bore you with the details of the screwing I got years ago when, in the process of attempting to buy an office building in downtown Durham, the details of that negotiation became known (to the man who bought it out from under me!).

I regret, for the sake of what is becoming one of my favorite causes, that Cam didn't stick it out to the bitter end and make the Bully build around him or take his property by emminent domain. But had I been in his shoes I would have done exactly the same thing he did and so would all of you except the few who view living in the middle of a parking lot as paradise.

In the interests of full disclosure, I've known Cam since he was 12. That's also why I can say with a high degree of certainty that he'll do as much as any one person can to look after the rest of us while he serves on the Council. Can we move on?

Michelle said the mortgage went up by $70K. I guess I don't understand what a straight up "swap" of deeds is, and after reading the articles about the financial "details" in the CHH, The N&O, and The DTH, I'm really confused. I just hope that there are smarter people out there who understand the high finance involved here. I was not as interested in the financial aspect as I was in hearing how Mr. Hill would address the issues raised in the two editorials that were published recently .

I said (to a reporter) that I thought the view from Cam's roof garden is wonderful. It is.

As for what Cam said, I'm trusting the media to get the gist of it (until further notice, which is expected shortly). Everyone seemed to be making lots of notes except the radio reporter, who didn't seem even to be listening much of the time. I also wish that one photographer hadn't insisted on spending the entire event nine feet or more above the action. For those of you playing along at home, that's because he was on the *second* roof garden.

It also entailed my noticing that Cam likes high ceilings, which is NOT something you notice in a house never meant to be lived in. I'm just saying.

TRANSPARENCY

&

NO SECRETS

that is what I think people expect from C. Hill and why the University has a large group of people who are suspect regarding their actions.

The lack of these 2 factors.

Mr. Hill should immediately come clean and even spin it into he will work this hard for the residents of the Town in any negotiations with the University. A good deal by any stretch of the imagination. The 70K mortgage is the stupidest spin I have ever heard. Most people would be glad to have that minimal a mortgage.

At this point full and total disclosure with a historic timeline is needed.

Just to set the record straight. Cam's mortgage is not $70,000. Someone got that informaion wrong. His mortgage went up $70,000.

I am sure Cam will say his peace at his press conference today. I hope this will be the end of it!

how about a reporter got the mortgage wrong.

I believe it was published twice that way.

I was hoping to attend today's press conference, but was unable to. I hope that anyone who attended will post here their reports on what was said.

Give it up, John A. because you won't convince some of these people to look at this broadly. None are as blind as those who refuse to see! You are right - there is an order here and it's shared by both parties. I say great, get the best deal that you can get from UNC, but don't dribble out the details like has happened. Be upfront about your business with the University and it foundation with the money while you go about arguing that someone else could possibly have a conflict of interest because of who her boss is. Please!

There are days when I wonder just who some of the people at this site think is running the University. The Chancellor and the other people in the Administration aren't some clandestine fraternal order, organized around subverting environmental policies, democracy, and the healthy upbringing of children in Chapel Hill. Dr. Moeser is not omnipotent, and the people who work for him aren't a dark force with strange influence extending throughout the leadership in this community and this state. While, I can never be sure, I'm reasonably certain that no one at Carolina spends her or his day compiling secret files with which to blackmail the Town Council members. Let's keep a perspective about this folks

I don't know who Mr. A Voter thinks I am, who I like or who I voted for, but I think you have a problem with your blinders on. If Bill Strom wanted to be tactful, is that grounds for lying? I don't think so; just say "no comment."

This is not an issue of "personal finances." This is about something bigger and those who refuse to acknowledg it also have blinders on. I don't know Mr. Hill and have no reason to dislike him, but I do know when something has an odor to it, and this does. Remove your blinders!

I don't have any blinders on, thanks, but I've done some looking at the housing market in Chapel Hill & I don't see lots of obvious alternatives to the arrangement as we've heard it. However hard Mr. Hill pushed for a deal (and I hope he pushed hard), the timing of every aspect of the process is certain to have been determined by the University alone. It's the timing that caused the ruckus.

I agree with John A. that it was surprising to read that Bill Strom had not been paying much attention when it came to seeing his sacrificial lamb on fire.

After all, Cam was the guy who took all the heat for Bill during the campaign. Whoever told Cam that it would be a good idea to slash and burn on his way to victory couldn't really have had Cam's best interest at heart, right Bill? So now that Cam is dead meat,

Bill hasn't been paying much attention.

I surmised a few weeks ago that Bill's real problem is his own hypocrisy with Chapel Hill North, the mega development that enriched him. So he's probably happy to see Cam twist

in the wind. Chapel Hill North is yesterday's news - he hopes.

John A.,

I am not sure why Bill Strom would deserve criticism for his tact in declining to comment on the personal finances of one of his fellow councilmembers (or soon to be councilmembers).

I think I recall that you have always disliked Cam Hill and that Eric Muller was never one of his supporters either. How surprising then that two of you sieze upon every opportunity to try to drag him down.

Clearly it would have been better for him to have been more open about this earlier, but give it a rest, guys. Cam drove a hard bargain with UNC and I voted for him because I want him to do the same on behalf of the Town of Chapel Hill as well. Apparently he is pretty good at it.

Take Cam's old house and give it to the IFC shelter to house the 40 bums. Sell the shelter for $ 3MM & give the profits to CAM. THEN CAM can live at the RESERVE WITH THE OTHER

phoneys on the Council.

I hope that you, Mr. Hill, will spend some time before your press conference carfully reviewing both of today's editorials stories and letters so that you can better understand why some have concerns about this deal, one that you and some of your supporters just see as a tempest in a teapot. As the person who made "conflict of interest" the key words of the election, there are many who now see you as having one; you need to understand why they think that way.

In the campaign you talked about a possible conflict of interest that UNC staffer Bachman could have but professor Juliano possibly would not, based on what they do at UNC. Your deal strikes some who are not very political as a real, not potential, conflict of interest. And the fact that it now comes out that it is not just a straight up swap, but also includes a cash payment that is now just being revealed, doesn't help either. I would also not confuse apples with oranges by arguing that your mortgage is increasing; using that faulty logic only works against your credibility.

You also need to consider the quote (if it's accurate) about princilpes: Hill said “That’s great to have principles. It’s easy to have principles when you’re not the one who suffers for them." Do you really believe that potential "suffering" should negate acting on principle?

Finally, am I the only one who is surprised that Mr. Hill's future Council colleague and election coalition member Bill Strom said, "I have paid no attention to it, so I have no comment," he said. "I really haven't paid any mind to it." As a Council member and one who who should be aware of issues between UNC and the Town, should he not be paying attention to this? And shouldn't you also expect to receive the benefit of his sage advice during this?

Good luck with your press conference!

On 11/19, Cam Hill, responding to concerns about a house swap that had appeared in the news, wrote the following on this site: "I talked about my selling my house to UNC at the coalition of Neighbors near Campus press conference on October 10th. I said that UNC had bought my entire neighborhood including my house and was going to turn it into a parking lot. I stated numerous times that I was moving to Rosemary St. from Cameron Ave. I made no secret of this deal. As with every thing else about this election the newspapers showed little interest....."

Then, later that day, he said this: "I guess I mis-spoke when I said 'bought' at that point UNC had agreed to buy, today's meeting is to formalize the offer or some such.....I remain baffled by the bureauocracy that is UNC....

"I developed a lot of my feelings about UNC's bullying from my experience with negotiating with them over this transaction; a guick deal has turned into a long drawn out bore, which has cost me a lot of money unneccessarily. My favorable deal is one that I am happy with but it is by no means any kind of windfall.

"On August 4th my house was broken into 3 times (in/on one day). This sort of broke my back. My kids were afraid to stay here, their mothers were concerned. I was daunted by the prospect of finishing my addition (Duncan, come see it and decide if it was just an attempt to help my negotiations), my kids wanted to move; I just decided (dispiritedly) to move on......

"I joked more than once that if being offered below-market-value money for my house constituted a conflict of interest then I had one....(please notice the word 'joke). It seemd to me that the university did not care at all that I was running for council and indeed was bent on treating me shabbily in spite of this fact. I believe that South building is decidedly unconcerned about the town council."

Now, early this morning -- after the newspaper added the new detail about the $100,000 payment, and almost an hour after mention of that story appeared on this website, Cam Hill posts a press release offering "to explain UNC's pursuit" of his property. (http://www.orangepolitics.org/archives/000094.html)

I am stunned that after concerns began to appear, Cam would speak publicly about the controversy--including here--and STILL not mention that he had negotiated a $100,000 cash payment on top of the land swap. This seems to me a very troubling additional instance of non-disclosure in a situation where disclosure was warranted. And it even veers dangerously toward deception: Cam Hill told us four days ago that the transaction was a "bore" that had "cost him a lot of money unnecessarily." Wouldn't at least a mention of a $100,000 cash payment have been appropriate to temper that characterization of this "money-losing" proposition?

I am amused that Cam thinks that "UNC's pursuit" of his property is what needs "explaining" at this point.

I live on Cameron Avenue, and voted for Cam Hill on the basis of his purported willingness to protect neighborhoods from the encroachments of the university. When I votedfor Cam, I was unaware that he himself was in negotiations with the university to turn his own property into a parking lot. He did not disclose this during the campaign. How can Cam be an effecitve advocate for neighborhoods, when he himself has benefited from a sweetheart deal with the university?

 

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