The Pinehurst Hot Mess: All Hail The Litigation Committee!

You have to KNOW things aren’t going so well if you have to maintain a standing ‘Litigation Committee.’  You’re apparently getting sued a lot, and that’s not a nice place to find yourself.

It seems threeJohn Strickland, Jeff Morgan, and ‘Parachute Pat’ Pizzella — of the four surviving Pinehurst Village Council members have found themselves on this illustrious committee.  For some reason, Lydia Boesch – the only actual lawyer on the council – is not being included.

Arguably, Strickland is one of the biggest reasons the village government now finds itself in need of a litigation committee.  Surely, the biggest issue on the group’s plate is the Open Meetings lawsuit brought by former council member Kevin Drum. Strickland stands accused of plotting in secret – with village resources – to sabotage Drum’s 2021 reelection bid.  According to Drum’s complaint, village manager Jeff Sanborn and village attorney Mike Newman also played a part in Strickland’s scheme.  

The State Court of Appeals recently kicked the suit back to Superior Court.  Legal observer tell me they expect the trial to generate some groundbreaking precedent regarding government transparency and open meetings.  Be sure to thank John Strickland for this expensive mess the next time you see him.  

You know.  I thought the purpose of having a board attorney was to help keep the board from doing something that gets it sued.  The Village of Pinehurst seems to be hit with more litigation than any other government body in the region.   Village attorney Mike Newman, and three other outside lawyers are being paid to help fight Drum’s complaint. 

This November, we have a chance to make changes at the mayoral level and on the council.  It might not be bad to consider serious changes at the village manager and village attorney level as well. Those two have not been without fault in regard to the mess of the last four years.