Demolition job isn't making city money

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One of Augusta city leaders' justifications for spending a quarter of a million dollars more than necessary for a local demolition job has apparently fallen flat.

Demolition continues at the former site of an old candy factory at Ninth and Telfair streets. The city took a higher bid for the work, with officials saying landfill fees would make up the difference.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Demolition continues at the former site of an old candy factory at Ninth and Telfair streets. The city took a higher bid for the work, with officials saying landfill fees would make up the difference.

Contrary to sworn affidavits and public statements, Augusta hasn't gained $220,000 in landfill fees from J&B Construction in connection with the demolition of the old candy factory on Telfair Street.

Mark Johnson, the director of the city's landfill, said last week that J&B Construction hasn't brought any debris to the landfill.

Where debris is hauled isn't usually a controversial issue. It's a heated topic in the candy factory demolition because city leaders justified awarding a contract to a higher bidder by claiming the city would recoup the differences through the landfill tipping fees.

The low bidder for the project, Thompson Building Wrecking Company, was initially rejected because it didn't include proper document of bonding.

Thompson, which is bonded, sued and won the right to be reconsidered by the city. City commissioners rejected Thompson in favor of J&B, a Columbia County minority-owned business. Thompson's bid was about $260,000 less.

J&B owner Jerome Jones; city procurement director Geri Sams; and Robert T. Munger, the project manager for the city's $643.3 million sales tax projects, each submitted affidavits in Richmond County Superior Court, saying the city would lose $220,000 in landfill tipping fees if Thompson was awarded the demolition contract.

At least one commissioner noted the tipping fees as a reason to back J&B over Thompson when the bid came up for a vote last summer.

"Thompson has verifiable information that J&B took inert waste material to numerous sites other than the county landfill," said Robert A. Mullins, Thompson's attorney.

Using the Augusta landfill wasn't a requirement for the demolition job, which will make way for a new downtown library. But Mr. Munger said last week that he had assumed J&B would use the city's landfill.

Mr. Munger said he never knew what Thompson's bid was because it was rejected for noncompliance with the request for proposals.

Mr. Jones didn't return several telephone messages left at his office seeking comment.

The demolition was supposed to take 90 days, according to J&B's bid, but has stretched into six months.

Mr. Munger said there were some work intensive surprises that were discovered as the demolition progressed, such as concealed asbestos underneath floors.

J&B already has submitted four change orders, each totalling less than $20,000, said City Administrator Fred Russell. The city commission is scheduled to vote on a fifth, a $28,000 change order for J&B.

The $24 million library project also has been delayed because of extended property negotiations, Mr. Munger said.

Staff Writer Sylvia Cooper contributed to this article.

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

Comments (23) Add comment
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bill63
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bill63 05/29/07 - 06:15 am
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A lost $220,000!

A lost $220,000! Approximately $60,000+ to $70,000+ in change orders (which is just another term for "I need more $$$!") all for racial preferences. No way to run government. If you are looking after black and white, then you award to the cheapest and most competent. Thanks Marion et al.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 05/29/07 - 07:02 am
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Hey Marion Williams, is this

Hey Marion Williams, is this guy related to you?

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 05/29/07 - 07:02 am
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Just another example of the

Just another example of the incompetancy of Wiiams and his chronies. Anyone with any contract experience would have added a clause that would make it a requirement for the contractor to use our landfill and pay tipping fees. Where was the city attorney when this contract was drawn?

kudzo-n-roses
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kudzo-n-roses 05/29/07 - 07:34 am
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I think it's all been

I think it's all been said.......thank goodness that hiring practice of hiring only minority business has been declared illegal....(like the racist commissioners will follow the law)J&B is ripping the city off and I am sure some commissioners are getting their kick-backs.....Mayor maybe you could look into that.

WW1949
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WW1949 05/29/07 - 08:10 am
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Thompson's paper work should

Thompson's paper work should have been correct. However the purchasing agent and others should have made sure the trash was going to be dumped in Richmond County and made it a part of the contract before they testified. What a mistake on their part. As a business owner J&B has the right to get rid of the trash in the cheapest way if it is legal. I live in Richmond county and don't like contracts going out of Richmond Cty if a qualified vendor is here. To have the right price I dump my trash at a private landfill @17.00 a ton vs 32.00 in Richmond County. I would love to dump in RC but the price is too high. Samples is in Col Cty but they raised their price to match RC since the CC dump has closed. I also do not believe in minority set aside. The cheapest QUALIFIED bid should win if all paperwork is correct. Thompson's Wrecking has done jobs for me and has always done a good job with on time performance.

intheknow
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intheknow 05/29/07 - 09:14 am
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Yes, blame Williams. I am

Yes, blame Williams. I am sure his 1 vote was the cause of this contract being awarded to this company.

Marco
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Marco 05/29/07 - 11:16 am
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These contracting mistakes

These contracting mistakes happen everyday, in all counties, states, and the federal Govt. Augusta is experiencing growth and change! These contracts are public record, make it your point to go to bid announcements and see what is to be included in the contract. Do your homework, and make sure each item is documented, and included in the award. It does not matter which nationality won the bid, it's the contents of the contract which are held to law. I lived in Augusta all of my young life, and I still read the Augusta Chronicle every day. If you want to make a difference, have your say before any bad news is made. Change orders are not new to the world in any contract, especially if asbestos or other dangerous product is found after the contract has started. The 'dump clause' should have been in the winning contract, if that was the reason it was awarded. Hire or vote for people to better manage your tax dollar, it is your money and should be properly spent. Mark Mitchell

ripjones
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ripjones 05/29/07 - 12:00 pm
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ATLMARK is right, in that ,

ATLMARK is right, in that , change orders happen all of the time in construction. And asbestos abatement is one of the real nasties that costs money. What I have a problem with, is that Jerome Jones was allowed to enter an affidavit regarding not awarding the deal to Thompson. Why would they allow one of the competitors to submit anything. This is what smells to me about the whole deal. Kind of like having the wolf in the hen house. This is the kind of thing that hurts minority owned businesses. J&B should be removed from the bidder list.

Augusta Mom
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Augusta Mom 05/29/07 - 12:09 pm
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Anyone makes mistakes.....but

Anyone makes mistakes.....but Augusta cntinues to make the same ones over and over again. Remember the "Sidewalk" fiasco???

fallguy
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fallguy 05/29/07 - 12:43 pm
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Why did the Augusta Chronicle

Why did the Augusta Chronicle make this article a racial issue by stating that J&B was a minority company. I can assume that The Thompon Wrecking Company is white owned. The Thompson Company did ot get the contract because it's paperwork was not completed properly, a major reason for denial of government contracts. This artlcle did not state that the contract was awarded to J&B for minority set-asides, yet you -alls first and only response/concern against J&B is the issue of it being a minority company

shepster
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shepster 05/29/07 - 02:35 pm
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Hey FALLGUY>.. CHECK THIS

Hey FALLGUY>.. CHECK THIS OUT. From an article dated November, 2006: "Mayor Pro Tem Marion Williams, who is leading the push to award the contract to J&B, said Friday that the city will make money with J&B because it will dispose of the candy factory debris at the county landfill." ONCE AGAIN, Marion Williams is in it up to his EYEBALLS! This time to the tune of around a quarter-MILLION dollars! MR MAYOR, Sherriff Strength.., WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 05/29/07 - 02:57 pm
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If our commission could learn

If our commission could learn from its mistakes, then the next demolition project will include an asbestos inspection BEFORE the bid is let, and then the bidders will know up front. But I don't expect them to learn. They haven't yet.

Native Augustan
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Native Augustan 05/29/07 - 03:47 pm
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Go to the Augusta Chronicle

Go to the Augusta Chronicle archives and search for J&B and read ro reread the articles about the goings on with this contract. At the time the contract was let Augusta Richmond County required anyone bidding on a contract with the City to go through an extremely long list of minority contractors to use as subs for any job with the City. Most contractors attending the bid meetings just threw up their hands and did not bid rather that tie up resources and time contaction the subs on the list, most of whom would not respond. Geri Sams again shows her try self even after the Grand Jury recommendations to get rid of her.

Iceman
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Iceman 05/29/07 - 03:55 pm
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Shades of the Charles Walker

Shades of the Charles Walker sidewalk debacle. Will they EVER learn?

m23866
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m23866 05/29/07 - 05:10 pm
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shepster, i said it once and

shepster, i said it once and i say it again,it looks like marion and the sheriff are buddy buddy and llike my granny used to say one hand wash the other,stay tuned and wait a looooooong time b/c this will be sweep under the rug ( like everything else that goes wrong in the beautiful city)

m23866
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m23866 05/29/07 - 05:29 pm
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i have a question and is out

i have a question and is out of curiosity, if this guy williams (and i did read the archives) is so bad politician,how come he do get ele`cted-re elected and continue to work in the capacity as a concilman? i dont get it how come people can be so blind as this guy keep sinking this beautiful place ( and yes augusta is a gold mine) i have notice i took my wife to see augusta ( she never been there) first impression: water treatment place,follow by that run down motel,you talk about that xmart,but down the road you have the parliament,come on guys wake up and seek new and fresh blood that can push augusta foward!!!!! not th same old politician thgat all tghey do is wash the hand of the other politician not to mention safe guard their pockets

m23866
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m23866 05/29/07 - 05:32 pm
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in case you dont know about

in case you dont know about the motel is the one at the end of new savannah road and by gordon hwy

BakersfieldCityLimits
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BakersfieldCityLimits 05/29/07 - 06:30 pm
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Augusta-Richmond county: You

Augusta-Richmond county:

You have the government that you allowed Charles Walker to devise. Stop complaining and pay the bill. When Augusta-Richmond county goes bankrupt maybe we can hire a " minority " law firm to preside over the end. Just one question for you all; when Augusta-Richmond county tips over the 50% line minority can we please stop hearing about how evil the white crackers are? It will all be yours to run, and do with as you will.

Little Lamb
47971
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Little Lamb 05/29/07 - 07:15 pm
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I wonder just WHERE J&B

I wonder just WHERE J&B actually did dump the material? Probably in the woods on somebody else's property. Maybe down where the drag strip was supposed to be.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 05/29/07 - 10:07 pm
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Why is there a black/white

Why is there a black/white problem with the commisssion? Is this an exmple?

addisons65
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addisons65 05/29/07 - 10:54 pm
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See what happens when the

See what happens when the "Affirmative Action" pendulum swings to the other side. Hiring people, and contracts, based solely upon someone being a minority should be disallowed. Obviously, J&B construction company is taking full advantage of the government's policy! Too bad the middle-class people are footing the bill for it! You know, without the Master's and Fort Gordon, where would Augusta be??

iletuknow
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iletuknow 05/29/07 - 11:29 pm
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Augusta: Where the minority

Augusta: Where the minority outnumbers the majority

justus4
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justus4 05/30/07 - 01:40 am
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IDIOTS: The
Unpublished

IDIOTS: The writers/author/chronicle: Total BS!! This rag is useless. Who cares that the city is wasting dollars. They are wasted on white mismanagement ALL THE TIME. Look at the city attorney's salary. The waste on the clean-up of a new judical ctr, while Hyde Park's people die from illnesses... personal work on gov't property etc. J&B is doing what whites do 24/7 in legal injustices and backroom deals, however there is no daily publication to expose it. And this article is so poorly written that it reeks with bias. Whats on Fred's hard drive and how much has it cost the city? How 'bout the cost of the legal section; The clean up cost @ fifth and how could they buy it w/o an EPA report? Then pay millions (chronicle: who owns that company and do it have ties to white commissioners) to clean up. All example of whites creating work for whites, but this will change and watch the chronicle, "do its thing."

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 05/30/07 - 07:52 pm
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justus4, you're obviously

justus4, you're obviously very passionate about something. What is it?

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