Developer seeks dismissal of lawsuit

Published 6:22 pm Thursday, November 4, 2021

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SolUnesco, a Reston Virginia solar development company looking to construct one of the nation’s most extensive solar facilities in Charlotte County at 800 megawatts, confirmed on Monday, Nov. 1, that the company is seeking a dismal of a lawsuit naming them and others as defendants in a land lease option.

On Sept. 28, John Janson, a South Hill attorney, filed the original lawsuit in Charlotte County Circuit Court on behalf of Faye Trent individually and as a fiduciary of Ruth A. Hansen Wilcox, after Trent said SolUnesco and company CEO Frances Hodsoll obtained a signed land lease option agreement dated Nov. 23, 2020, with Wilcox, who was incapable of making such decisions.

Hodsoll said the company has done nothing wrong.

In an emailed statement from SolUnesco Communications Director Melody Gee, Gee wrote, “We are confident that Ms. Trent lacks legal standing, and the case will eventually be dismissed. SolUnesco’s legal team at Gentry Locke has filed pleadings seeking the full dismissal of this case.”

According to Gee, SolUnesco CEO Francis Hodsoll has been in contact with Wilcox, her caretaker and other participating landowners throughout this process, all of whom Gee said supports the Randolph Solar project without objections.

“While Ms. Trent is free to hold her opinions about solar development, we cannot allow a single disgruntled individual to interfere with the county’s decision to evaluate a project that offers major and lasting community benefits.”

On Oct. 20, Janson filed for an amended lawsuit naming the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors and planning commission as defendants.

“Less than a month after filing, Mr. Janson had to amend the lawsuit in an attempt to halt the Randolph Solar project, and Ms. Trent has now sued the taxpayers and citizens of Charlotte County by adding the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission to the complaint,” Gee wrote. “In a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars, Janson is suing the County for doing their job: holding a scheduled meeting and approving one part of the project’s zoning permit. Frustratingly, Mr. Janson is again using the courts to pursue an anti-solar agenda.”

According to Gee, Janson has filed or threatened to file lawsuits against solar projects in multiple counties.