44 property owners at sinkhole accept settlements

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NAPOLEONVILLE, La. (AP) – Nearly half of a group of residents evacuated because of an Assumption Parish sinkhole have accepted buyout offers from Texas Brine Co.

As of Monday's 5:30 p.m. deadline, company spokesman Sonny Cranch said 44 of 92 offers delivered to property owners around the sinkhole have taken out-of-court settlements.

About 350 Bayou Corne residents have been under evacuation orders since the salt dome cavern collapsed almost 11 months ago. Texas Brine made offers to residents who haven't yet hired a lawyer.

Cranch says 41 residents say they'd like to continue direct negotiations with Texas Brine. He says the company has asked U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey to extend the deadline for direct negotiations with those residents until July 31. The judge has not yet ruled on the request.

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