Thom’s Tholl Theam retains BIG DOG lawyers in fight against lil’ ol’ anti-toll road group

payupWiden I-77, a citizen’s group based in North Mecklenburg County, has been making a lot of noise in fighting the state’s deal to hand over the development and management of proposed toll lanes on I-77.  These grassroots activists are apparently getting on the nerves of the powers-that-be:

Cintra, you may have heard, is a huge multinational corporation with over $70 billion in assets under their control. They are a goliath in the private tolling industry.

Well, earlier this week Goliath introduced himself to Widen I-77. Actually, Goliath’s twin brothers did. They’re both lawyers.

Parker Poe, a downtown Charlotte law firm with 200+ attorneys in five cities around the Carolinas, sent us a certified letter letting us know they represent I-77 Mobility Partners, LLC. (You may recall I-77 Mobility is the shell company Cintra set up to run the I-77 toll lanes.) The letter cited our press release about retaining counsel and requested to be notified “immediately” if we file an injunction.

Parker Poe has an Infrastructure Development practice with ties to local government. Rick Short just blogged about them over at  ashortchronicle. Lately Parker Poe has been involved in getting the Red Line back on track.

Goliath’s other twin is an LA-based law firm, Gibson Dunn and Crutcher. They have over a thousand attorneys with offices eighteen major cities all over the world. We’re not sure what they’re involvement is, but we’re guessing when a company like Cintra has $70 billion in assets they can afford to cc a few high-priced attorneys.

Are we intimidated? Nah. We expected to run up against some Goliaths with deep pockets.

They may have huge resources… but we have their attention.

That being said, we could use a few more stones for our slingshot….sue

Writing someone a letter and cc’ing a law firm is a clear intimidation effort.  (Thom Tillis did it to the guy whose barn he allegedly shot up.)  But having a big-ass law firm send a letter that cc’s an EVEN BIGGER law firm? Wow.  That’s taking things to even grander D-B levels. 

You’d be hard pressed to find ANY of Cintra’s toll projects that have a happy ending. A quick Google search will produce a number of stories about revenue shortfalls and bankruptcy filings on other US-based Cintra projects.  What happens here if Cintra and its partners run into money trouble?  Well, Widen I-77 has addressed that.  You might notice that the state has signed the toll lane deal with an LLC — a limited liability corporation. In a financial dispute, or any other litigation, ONLY the assets of the LLC are at risk.  And NOT those of the entities or people managing the LLC.  Cintra and its partners could close up shop on the LLC and walk away. They could go on to other deals, while the taxpayers of North Carolina are left to clean up the mess.

This isn’t a one-time deal.  The state has all kinds of plans to replicate these kind of arrangements across North Carolina.   Pay attention.  You and your neighbors could be next.

 

 

16 thoughts on “Thom’s Tholl Theam retains BIG DOG lawyers in fight against lil’ ol’ anti-toll road group

  1. It’s cold, rainy, I don’t have work until after the holiday…. hmmmm…. wonder what I’ll be doing?

    1. Leave it to the government, making a mountain out of an ant hill with this project. Not only does this decision reek of politics but also cronyism. Does NCDOT really think were this $tupid?

      What we the people of Charlotte metro are asking for is a number 3 general lane (each direction) all the way from Charlotte uptown to Statesville, roughly 42 miles. Such a project shouldn’t cost more than 150-175 million tops.

      However, If they want to bring in a private corp. to finance a HOV / toll lane IN ADDITION to a general widening, I’m perfectly fine with that. There’s no doubt though that we need more than one additional lane each direction. That said, if all they do is add One toll lane each direction and nothing else than this is INDEED a rich man’s lanes ONLY. Any smart private company would milk it during rush hour. 15-20 dollar tolls each direction would be brutal.

      Funny they are now talking the same nonsense on the new I-485 widening project from Rea Road to Providence (set to begin in 2018).

  2. Parker Poe employees are big time contributors to many of the NCGA legislators. As an ORGANIZATION (non-individual, business contributor) – they have given money to McCrory, Tillis, Berger, Janet Cowell, Roy Cooper, Harold Brubaker, Ruth Samuelson, Bev Perdue, etc. etc. (http://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=8388) They also are a registered LOBBY firm in NC, and have lobbied on behalf of legislation such as the game fish bill for the Coastal Conservation Association. Here is a link to some of the other organizations they lobbied on behalf of in 2014 (http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/lobbyists/Lobbyist.aspx?PId=8060169) I don’t understand how their massive contributions, plus their registered lobby status, plus their now-hired to represent NC status, is even allowable?? There MUST be some statute against such a blatant conflict of interest?

    1. You must be joking. Charlotteans pay for their roads every time we gas up, same as all North Carolinians. We simply object to paying for them TWICE.

    2. Seriously? I have never paid a toll to go through and around Raleigh in any of the numerous lanes. Even the roads that go nowhere have extra lanes. They want a toll road in one direction. We have thousands who come from SC to work. Why not collect from them? You in Raleigh have been in charge way too long.

  3. Is anyone really surprised that Tillis is involved. It’s just too bad that we had to have outsiders and a few select insiders decide our candidate for the Senate.

  4. Given the easily obtainable documentation regarding corruption, graft, and cost to the citizens involved in these public/private partnerships how can anyone elected to represent the State or the people go forward with such arrangements?

  5. Kay Hagan would have protected us from toll roads. And so would Greg Brannon.

    I think the rest of the state elected Tholl Rhoad Thom Thillis just to get back at the Charlotte area! If the Panthers had been doing better Kay would have won and saved us from tolls. And we already have more than enough roads to last us for several decades to come.

    1. “Kay Hagan would have protected us from toll roads. And so would Greg Brannon”

      Pleasseee… Kay Hagan is an idiot.

  6. I appealed my Haywood County property assessment value to the NC Property Tax Commission. We did not take an attorney with us.

    The Haywood County hired the former mayor of Raleigh as their attorney; he is with Parker Poe in Raleigh.

  7. The sad part is the public/private partnerships sound so cheesy but in reality they are all part of Agenda 21. What part of this picture do our elected officials in Raleigh not understand? This is a way of giving up the 10th Amendment and state sovereignty.

  8. We need to stay away from public/private partnerships or else the size of government will shrink. The government needs to maintain as much control over these projects as possible.

    The private business only wants to make money! That is why the government should maintain control and keep the private business out! Big government only wants what is best for the citizens. Big business only wants to make money.

    Occupy is against public/private partnerships. Stand strong!

    1. Actually, especially in this case, P3’s dramatically increase the size and cost of government. You are confusing them with true privatization.

      Take these I77 HOT lanes for example. Instead of spending about $120 million to widen the congested road with general purpose lanes, the state is spending more than that on the “studies”, the contracts, the subsidization, and the direct money payments to Cintra. They are further unnecessarily growing the project to $655 million dollars and an eventual cost to motorists of $13 billion.

      Government has a few defined roles. Providing basic infrastructure is one of them. The goal should be to move the most people at the least cost. This particular project will move fewer people at a higher cost. Purposefully limiting capacity and causing congestion for the sole purpose of providing profit to a government granted monopoly. It is insane.

      1. Don’t feed the troll. Junior has admitted previously to being okay with Big Government. He also seems completely clueless as to how a P3 operates.

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