by Lisa Tome
Rising Sun water and sewer commissioner George Walker publicly stated that former sewer project contractor Howard Robson "declared bankruptcy".
The vice president of operations for Howard Robson, Inc., Alexander McManimen said that is not true.
"We're not bankrupt and we're not planning on it. That is not true. We've not filed and have no plans to file," said McManimen.
McManimen confirmed that the town and the contractor participated in mediation last week. He said Howard Robson is not planning to return to work on the sewer plant.
"With mediation we are trying to resolve things amicably," said McManimen.
After McManimen stated they are not in bankruptcy, Walker was asked where he got the information which he reported in the May 13 town meeting. Walker confirmed that the information did not come from Howard Robson officials.
"They didn't tell us. We heard it through the grapevine. Calvin (town administrator - Bonenberger) told me they filed for bankruptcy. They (Robson) have never officially told us," said Walker.
The contractor and town officials were in mediation for about nine hours last week. Meetings were held at the building Wagner and Associates (the town's CPA firm) early last week.
Walker said the town is moving forward with the USDA requirements for hiring a new contractor. He said that the town will open bids in 30 days. "The timetable for completing remains unchanged. We have to be done by September 2015," he said.
Walker expects that a new contractor will be in place by late June or early July. He confirmed that no work is in progress right now on the plant.
On March 21, Howard Robson, Inc. submitted a seven page document to the town declaring they would be terminating the contract. The document outlined a laundry list of issues with the plant construction, some of which Walker said are not accurate.
Robson cited that work on the project has been suspended since May 2013. "It is undisputed that the Owner suspended all critical work on the project since May 1. 2013, more than ten months ago. In fact, at the express direction of Owner and CDM, no work is being prosecuted."
Other reasons cited in the document for Robson's desire to pull out are "The Endless Redesigns" which they believe constitute an abandonment and/or cardinal change. Robson also demands financial assurance.
The document also states that the overall project costs will definitely exceed $10.5 million. And that the project won't be completed until November 2015.
After that document arrived, Walker announced that Robson would stay on the job. Later, he stated that the town received notice that they were abandoning the job.