Aldermen's vote to buy $3.5 million worth of property draws legal

North Carolina law allows public bodies to go into closed, or executive, sessions for several reasons. Closed sessions may be held to discuss personnel matters, economic incentives, legal issues or land acquisition.

But unsealing the minutes of a closed meeting is not sufficient when it comes to complying with North Carolina law, said Amanda Martin, an attorney with the N.C. Press Association.

"The law does not permit them to take the actual vote in closed session," Martin said Tuesday. "I think it is a violation."

According to the draft minutes, the aldermen went into the hour-long session to discuss buying three parcels of land and buildings on Kale Road in the James City area. The purchase price for the 20 acres and at least one building is $3.5 million.