published: Friday, January 18, 2013
City stands behind Excavation Point, demolition set for wall
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - The light at the end of the tunnel can now finally be seen by members of Sebring city staff. Tuesday night's meeting addressed what could possibly the last hitch in the long, drawn-out Center Avenue wall debacle.
City Attorney Bob Swaine presented the council with a proposed contract between the city and Excavation Point (the engineering firm contracted to demolish Gingerlee Mitchelllindo's retaining wall surrounding her property at 503 E. Center Ave.)
The contract, which was reworked over the past couple weeks by Swaine after Mitchelllindo threatened to sue the company on Jan. 2, provides the company with hold harmless language as well as indemnification.
Basically, the contract provides protection of Excavation Point if Mitchelllindo sues the company when the demolition occurs.
"Excavation Point wants the city to represent them if Mrs. Mitchelllindo sues," Swaine explained to the council during the meeting.
Excavation Point owner Tal Rancaurt and his attorney, Jim LaPuzza, were present at Tuesday's meeting to ensure they were fully covered before they prepare to do the work they were hired to do. The men were sure to voice their concerns on what could be a potential mess if they were not very careful with the project.
"The only issue I have is that you have limited the indemnification to a suit filed by Mrs. Mitchelllindo. Now I'm assuming that she is the sole property owner," LaPuzza asked the council.
"She was last I looked in the property records," Swaine replied.
"Well, I'd prefer that that (contract) be amended. I don't want to be sued by another property owner besides Mrs. Mitchelllindo. If there are two property owners, I don't want the other one suing us. So change that to current property owner and we're good," LaPuzza said.
Council members quickly talked over the issue, remembering the past hick-ups they've run into when the property deed was switched from Mitchelllindo to her husband then back to Mitchelllindo.
"The title has changed hands rather frequently on that regard," Swaine said.
"If she's not the sole property owner, my client is still at risk for litigation," LaPuzza said.
Council member Andrew Fells made the motion to accept the contract with the amendments and changes.
"I'd be more comfortable with just saying the current property owner at the time of the work," Fells added.
Council members passed the motion unanimously to accept the contract between the city and Excavation Point. The city will provide legal support and representation in the event Mitchelllindo or another property owner sues the company anytime following the start of the demolition project.
A Civil Surv, Inc. Design Group representative was also present during Tuesday's meeting and requested the same hold harmless and indemnification protection as Excavation Point. Civil Surv did the initial pre-demolition construction plans.
Jack Breed spoke to the council briefly during the meeting.
"Since our work, we have already been sued twice ... We do appreciate attorney Swaine's statement of duplication of the contract you have before you," Breed said. "We would like to have some form of language from the owners, whoever that be, for the duration of our services."
Swaine stated that Civil Surv will be added as an addendum to the contract between the two entities already in place.
Council members approved all of the contract changes and identification language unanimously Tuesday evening.
Excavation Point will begin work on the demolition of the retaining wall on Mitchelllindo's property within seven days. Council members were told by Excavation Point's owner that the demolition will be fully completed by Feb. 28.
Wall Issue Is A Bad Joke (by: Lord Howard Hurts - 1/20/2013)
The "puffing and posturing", and making claims that this is an issue worth wasting taxpayer money on, when the wall has been illegal for years, and was always in plain sight, by these government bullies is disgusting.This Wall issue is a bad joke, and all the elected city council members, and their lawyer, should take a good look at themselves in the mirror and ask, "What terrible catastrophe will occur should this wall not be removed? Am I being reasonable or am I being a bully?"
Who is giving thanks? (by: Blindman - 1/18/2013)
So is this all about complying with laws for "the handicapped"? If so, will any of "them" speak up and say "thanks"?
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