Board of Supervisors

April 18, 2011

Polk County to sue Iowa Events Center architect

Source:, April 15, 2011
By: Jason Pulliam

Polk County leaders plan to sue the architect of the Iowa Events Center for breach of contract and alleged design problems that caused the county to pay some $5 million to settle claims filed by contractors who worked on the project.

Members of the Polk County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 this week to file the lawsuit against HOK Sport, the architecture and design firm the county selected in 2000 for the highly touted, $218 million project.

After the events center’s 2005 opening in downtown Des Moines, the county spent several years negotiating about 15 settlements with prime contractors who claimed they were owed more money for their work. Those settlements cost the county approximately $5 million combined.…

April 14, 2011

Stanislaus County landfill solution ordered

Source: The Modesto Bee, April 9, 2011
By: Garth Stapley

The government must have had its reasons, 40 years ago, for turning gently rolling land near a peaceful river bend into a dump.

Maybe no one wanted it for anything else. It likely was cheap and available, and — nine miles east of Modesto — out of sight, but within comfortable driving distance for pickups and garbage trucks.

In 20 years, the 168-acre Geer Road dump — with no bottom liner, allowing groundwater to rise and soak rotting garbage — swallowed about 4.5 million tons of waste.

Perhaps it’s a good thing for those government officials that they’re long gone, with few left to explain the inconceivably poor decision. But someone must answer for the sins of the fathers, state overseers say, or risk polluting the Tuolumne River with foul, cancer-causing agents from water moving underground.

The ire of state water officials was on display Friday in Sacramento when Stanislaus County representatives acknowledged that spending $7.24 million trying to contain contaminated groundwater from the defunct dump is far too little, too late.…

March 17, 2011

Fourth Street Bridge trapped in legal limbo

Source: The Examiner (San Francisco), February 19, 2011
By: Joshua Sabatini

The City’s Fourth Street Bridge project was plagued by millions of dollars in cost overruns and hundreds of days over schedule. The bridge work finished in 2006, but the headache continues with mounting legal bills as litigation over the project remains an ongoing court battle.

Next month, the Board of Supervisors will be asked to approve spending an additional $2.8 million to pay for additional legal costs in a lawsuit filed against The City by the contractor selected to complete the Fourth Street Bridge project, San Francisco-based Mitchell Engineering Inc.

Work began in 2003 to renovate the Fourth Street Bridge, a drawbridge which spans the Mission Channel near AT&T Park and is a key component of the Third Street rail line. What was to be a $17 million project taking a year and a half ended up lasting three years and costing “$36 million and change,” according to Curtis Mitchell, owner of Mitchell Engineering. The City has paid him $21 million but he is suing for an additional sum of more than $20 million, which he says he is owed for labor, materials and time. The lawsuit says The City is to blame since it provided faulty designs and analysis of the site’s conditions.…