Originally created 12/28/06

Overseers join Thompson suit



Those overseeing the city's capital improvement projects have been added as defendants in a lawsuit.

Heery International and Robert T. Munger have been brought into Thompson Building Wrecking Co.'s lawsuit against the city, the mayor pro tem and the procurement director. The lawsuit is a complaint about how the city awards contracts.

Thompson initiated legal action earlier this year in protest of the decision to reject its bid to tear down an abandoned downtown building. A judge ruled that the city could still consider Thompson's bid, but the city commissioners voted in November to give the bid to a Columbia County firm that is charging more than $250,000 more than Thompson.

Thompson filed suit again, claiming the city's bidding process is unfair and arbitrary.

The subject of the controversy is an old candy factory on Telfair Street that sits across from the federal court complex. It will be the site of the new downtown city library, one of the projects in the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

Heery was hired to administer the sales tax projects, budgeted for a total $643.3 million. Mr. Munger is the program manager for the tax programs.

Heery's general counsel, Richard Nikonovich-Kahn, said Wednesday that he has not seen the amended complaint yet. But it is his understanding that the issue is clear - Thompson's bid was rejected because the company did not include proof of bonding for the project, Mr. Nikonovich-Kahn said.

Thompson's amended complaint, filed in Richmond County Superior Court on Dec. 20, alleges that Mr. Munger also misled city commissioners and the public into believing Thompson was the only bidder to leave out required documents.

The amended complaint also contends that a Sept. 25 affidavit Mr. Munger filed falsely claimed that Thompson's use of its own landfill facility would prevent the city from recovering $222,000 in landfill tipping fees.

Except for a requirement that hazardous materials be properly disposed of, the issue of where the debris from the demolition would be taken was not part of the request for proposal in the candy factory job.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.



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