Hopkins told Ruffin the original discussion lapsed after the first meeting, resuming only on or about July 12 -- after the window for neighbors to file a protest petition had closed. At that point, lawyer Patrick Byker contacted DOT officials to move the donation through.
Byker was "in a hurry" to complete it, and when asked why the rush, told DOT officials his clients wanted to show "good faith" by making the deal before the hearing, Hopkins said.
But such a showing was unnecessary, as the developers already had formally promised city/county planners they would give DOT an easement along the N.C. 751 frontage of the site in return for the rezoning.
The widening is not in DOT's near-future plan, said (Southern Durham President Alex) Mitchell and DOT engineer Joey Hopkins, but Mitchell said he went ahead when he realized that donating the right of way would invalidate the protest petition.
"I have a group of opponents who wake up every day trying to think of ways to block this plan," he said. "I'll do everything within my power, legally, to move it forward."
So, Patrick Byker lied to state officials in his capacity as the attorney representing Southern Durham Development, Inc.
And people wonder why opponents of this plan don't trust the developers to make good on their promises.