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Moore County veterans say 'no' to Bojangles

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CARTHAGE, N.C. -- Moore County veterans are saying "no" to Bojangles. But it has nothing to do with their famous chicken and biscuits.

For the second month in a row, Moore County veterans packed the historic courthouse in Carthage to protest the possible sale of land very close to the county's Veterans Memorial. According to county commissioners, Bojangles approached the county manager unsolicited, wanting to buy the land. It is currently owned by the county itself.

But veterans say the site is too close to the memorial to put a restaurant.

"The placement that the county commissioners have been, shall we say, negotiating with Bojangles is approximately 59 yards from where the memorial currently sits," said retired Army Lt. Col. Mary Ann O'Connor..

Of particular concern to the veterans are recently released recordings of the board's previous closed-session meetings, where commissioners appeared to be in real negotiations to sell the land.

"Minutes contradicting council members' statements, secret offers and counteroffers, and basically a dirty political river of biscuits and gravy," said veteran Mark Koppenhofer during the meeting's public forum.

But county commissioners say that's not true.

"It would never happen that way. There were some numbers discussed. There were never any counteroffers made. But, had this moved further, we would have brought it out to the public, it's our policy, it's the law," says Moore County Commissioner Craig Kennedy.

After nearly two hours of heated debate, county chairman Larry Caddell proposed jointly owning the land with the veterans group, allowing maintenance and insurance costs to be paid by the county, while ensuring the land is never used for anything not sanctioned by the veterans.

The resolution commissioners adopted agreed they and the veterans would submit representatives to a committee to hammer out the joint ownership proposal before the commissioners' next meeting in two weeks.

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