Halifax Paving Settlement Agreement
Re; City’s counsel’s trust account
I recently received from the City of Port Orange a copy of the October 6, 2009 Settlement and Modification Agreement between Halifax Paving and the City. Prior to this agreement the City had paid Saboungi Construction Co over $109,000.00, in large part because Halifax Paving was late in delivering fill dirt and delivered substandard fill dirt, to the Coraci Sports Park. Halifax was to reimburse the City for $100,000.00 of its costs and the specifics of that reimbursement are spelled out in the October 6th Agreement. Some of those specifics follow:
- Settlement Amount. The Settlement Amount shall be paid as follows:
- $40,000.00 payment to City’s counsel’s trust account to be released upon the City’s approval and execution of this Release and Modification Agreement; and
- $60,000.00 in the form of a credit for future services from Halifax under the Contract, which Contract is hereby incorporated herein by reference and made a part of this Agreement. The value of services rendered shall be as currently stated in the parties’ Contract.
I’m not sure if “City’s counsel’s trust account” refers to an account that you maintain as City Attorney or if it refers to one maintained by an outside attorney who represented the City on this matter, but it should make tracing of the $40,000.00 an easy matter. Everyone knows that improprieties in an attorney’s escrow accounts can have terrible consequences for their careers, so attorneys are very meticulous about their records.
Please consider this a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act for proof of payment into City’s counsel’s trust account of $40,000.00 from Halifax Paving and its subsequent release to the City. Since proof that Halifax Paving did in fact “work off” the remaining $60,000.00 of their debt is probably something that you can not provide, I have requested that information elsewhere.
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL 32127
16 thoughts on “Halifax Paving Settlement Agreement”
Got this reply from the City Clerk yesterday. Second part of their attachment to follow.
Attached please find the cancelled check and cash receipts transaction print screen showing payment was in fact received from Halifax Paving in 2009 pursuant to the settlement.
Have a great weekend.
Second part of the attachment:
I don’t get it. They owe the city somewhere between a million and three million dollars and all we have receipts for is forty THOUSAND? People at the city and at Halifax Paving need to be put under oath and questioned by someone trained to run an investigation in order to find out what is really going on.
Mike, I think there are a number of important questions you need to ask the city in FOI requests that may open up further questions and revelations.
1. Who was the engineer assigned to the reuse lake excavation project from the city’s consulting engineer Quentin L. Hampton & Associates during that 2003 to 2005 period?
2. Was it David King?
3. During that period were there any other companies or contractors hauling dirt from the lake excavation besides Halifax Paving?
4. Was a company called Excalibur Construction hauling any dirt out of there during that period?
5. Does Excalibur have any ownership affiliation with anyone working for or connected with Quentin L. Hampton & Associates Engineering which is the city’s engineering consultant?
6. Did Mayor Allen Green have any connection with or was he involved with any venture capital to help start Excalibur Construction?
7. Did Excalibur have a contract to assist Halifax Paving in the hauling of dirt from the excavated lake site?
8. Did Excalibur truck any loads from the site to destinations other than destinations which Halifax Paving was directly involved in the transactions?.
9. Will Halifax Paving disclose the load destinations of the excavated dirt trucked from the site and identify the business entities which were the recipients of the dirt?
10. Does the City of Port Orange presently intend to hire David King from Quentin L. Hampton & Associates as a consultant to assist the City’s present Halifax Paving contract administrator to try and unravel the convoluted mess regarding the historical chain of this contract debacle, and to help to field the FOI information requests that are coming from the citizen activists who want transparency and answers as to whether the city received any payments from Halifax Paving under the contracts terms.
These questions are insinuating nothing, however they need to be asked, and they should be answered transparently with clarity, conciseness, and completely.
JJ, thank you for your information. The questions are direct and to the point and would help deter insinuations. I am sure Mike Gardner will give your questions the proper attention that they deserve.
I meant to write that clear and complete answers to JJs questions will help deter insinuations.
JJ and Hank–
On July 16, 2014 Dianne Gardner requested “any and all records related to the amount of fill dirt dug and/or hauled from the site on a monthly basis from the beginning of the contract until now” from both Halifax Paving and Quentin L Hampton. Halifax advised us that they felt we should contact the City of Port Orange for the information and QLH has not responded at all. We will be renewing the requests from both companies tomorrow. We sent a similar request the City of Port Orange and they have advised us they are working on it. The original contract is very specific about how the records are to be kept and verified, etc.
We hope to get a lot of information from all three sources, but are not counting on it. My personal opinion is that an OUTSIDE, INDEPENDENT investigator with no ties to the City, QLH, or Halifax, and with the power to place people under oath and to compel testimony, will be needed to track the money and the dirt. I’m trying to keep a record of all questions that need to be asked, so keep them coming.
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL 32127
Thank you Mike and Dianne. I am grateful to both of you for requesting documentation for issues that we are concerned about.
If the city fails to provide the information requests and takes the position that they gave you everything they have, and if Halifax Paving and/or Quentim L. Hampton & Associates are unwilling to provide any information what do you think the next step is?
If paper work cannot be found about how much dirt was hauled away and how much money is owed, that is another serious internal control issue the city council has to address, and get some real inspection and control going on in city government.
From what I understand, the city has not asked to be paid the million or so dollars owed to it for the dirt removed. That is another significant issue that begs for reform in city government.
The city should immediately ask the dirt haulers to pay their debts. A time and date should be set. If the date specified in the city’s ultimatum to the dirt haulers, and the money is not paid, civil and possible criminal action should be pursued by the city.
Hank, what is the possibility that no one from the city has pressed Halifax for what is owed because Halifax may have been directed to truck large quantities of dirt to destinations not revealed that a certain someone has an ownership interest in that doesn’t want that known?
On the front page of today’s News Journal Lacey McLaughlin wrote about the Port Orange dirt deal fuels conflict. Towards the end of the article it is stated that the Mayor and Councilman Ford believe an external audit should occur and I fully agree with this suggestion. Kisela on the other hand (who incidently will be gone in two days) believes the audit should be done by inside staff rather than hiring an outside source.
The audit would be to find out just what happened so why would we want the people most likely responsible for the debacle doing the investigation????? I RECOMMEND AN OUTSIDE INDEPENDENT AUDITOR WHO HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CITY OR ANYONE WORKING FOR THE CITY. THEN MAYBE, JUST MAYBE WE WILL GET SOME HONEST ANSWERS TO QUELL ALL THIS SPECULATION.
Actually an outside independent audit would be much better than an inside audit conducted by city staff, however this will probably not be enough. The deficiencies of these types of audits is that the mayor generally defines the scope and may do so to an extent and degree that leaves much unearthed
What is truly needed is an auditing of not only Port Orange records and transactions but also Halifax Paving’s and Quentin L. Hampton and Associate’s. The mayor, the ex-city manager, the current and soon to be ex-city manager, the city utilities engineer, the past two finance directors, the QLHM project engineer, and the Halifax Paving management need to be placed under oath and asked all the right questions by Pam Bondi of the State Attorney’s office then we will get down to the bottom of this debacle.
You forgot to mention putting the last two public utility directors and the current city attorney under oath. Who knows, maybe the current city attorney does not like this storm that is brewing and is smart enough to take an early retirement. She seems to be pretty shrewd, so wouldn’t it be sweet if she could land an assignment with the master developer Buddy Lacour himself. That would be perfectly legal and would sure be a nice golden parachute. Is this a speculation or a prognostication? Time will tell in the Magical Theater of life.
Hot Prospect, You and I think alike on this one. She might consider running for the hills like the rest of them.
I agree with Margaret. Kisela wants inside staff on such an audit? I guess I should no longer be amazed.