Fulfilling Our Top Priority to Protect the Rhododendron Preserve

Looking up among the trees in a forest with blue sky and the sun shinning through

On Sept. 1st, the Foundation prevailed in our effort to protect the Foundation’s property rights. While we prevailed on this issue, there are still other outstanding issues in the overall litigation with The Mountaineers to resolve. You can read more on our blog.

As many of you know, Mindy Roberts and I, in consultation with the Foundation board, have reached out several times over the past four years to The Mountaineers requesting to begin confidential negotiations to reach a resolution to the overall litigation. Each time, The Mountaineers have refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement, something that we insisted on after they publicly announced on their blog a draft settlement proposal that was not agreed upon – it was just a starting point from their side.

With that context, we are incredibly excited to tell you that we extended another offer to The Mountaineers to engage in confidential negotiations after the Sept. 1st court ruling, suggesting that we meet for confidential discussions to work to reach resolution on all facets of the litigation. They agreed and signed the confidentiality agreement. Working with them, we set up a location for the two-day talks.

Mindy, Scott Eby and I were at the table for the Foundation with Tom Vogl, Gabe Aeschliman, and Lorna Corrigan from The Mountaineers. The talks allowed us to share ideas and solutions and attempt to reach a middle ground that benefits both organizations in the long term. Because these negotiations are confidential – a move that we requested to ensure we could have the ability to speak freely without the discussions being shared publicly again – we cannot share details of the talks, but we will bring all proposals tentatively formalized by legal counsel to the board for consideration and feedback.

Overall, we feel good about the conversations and are incredibly pleased to be moving forward in a way that furthers the top priority of the Foundation to protect the Preserve for generations to come. Coming to a thoughtful resolution on the overall litigation, which is our goal, frees both organizations up to use their time and resources to the benefit of their missions and visions for the future.

We remain hopeful that we can move beyond this phase soon. We’ll keep you updated as we can while honoring the confidentiality promise we’ve made throughout the negotiations.

– Jeff Wirtz, President