WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Depoe Bay’s legal nightmare finally ends


Depoe Bay

Depoe Bay’s long legal struggle with a contractor that helped to build the town’s new water storage tank is over. Depoe Bay’s legal struggle with the company that oversaw its construction is over. And Depoe Bay’s relationship with its legal team that guided the city through the whole kit and kaboodle is over. In fact the city terminated their contract with them and is now looking for a new law firm.

It all started over five years ago when the contractor the city hired removed more rock than the city thought it should and therefore refused to pay the contractor the extra $70,000 the contractor demanded. The disagreement was over how much rock was removed from the storage tank construction site. The then city council relied on the evaluation of their oversight contractor who claimed their smaller estimate was correct and that T-Bailey, the excavation contractor was wrong.

However, T-Bailey prevailed in court and that set the clock ticking on court costs, interest on the $70K and attorney fees. Mayor Carol Conners said the then city council relied on the city’s attorney firm’s advice and pressed ahead with an appeal, which the city lost. The city even lost more money on what Mayor Connors contends was an inappropriate rate of interest the city was ordered to pay on the original judgement. The total amount soared into the hundreds of thousands of dollars which a tiny town like Depoe Bay could nowhere near afford to pay.

In the end the city sued the oversight contractor and there was a settlement, but under the rules of the settlement nobody can talk about money or fault. The city also fired their law firm that participated throughout the process.

Mayor Connors said the only number they can legally talk about is the amount that T-Bailey agreed to settle for; the city will pay them $307,500. She again reiterated that it’s frustrating that the settlement conditions all around do not allow the city council or any other city employee to talk about which money flowed from what pot to whom or in what amounts, or even if there were “amounts.” Mayor Connors said T-Bailey will be paid the $307,500 from the city’s water fund. She said there are no expensive water projects for Depoe Bay on the near horizon so there should not be any undue hardship on the town other than the loss of the money. However, she said, “We’ve got a sewer and storm water system that definitely needs a lot of work but that’s a totally different fund.”

Mayor Connors said the water tank issue and legal battle was launched before any currently serving city councilor was on the council. But she defended her predecessors as good people who relied on their legal and contractors’ advice to act and decide as they did. “They did the best they could, I’m convinced of that. I find no fault with any of them,” she said. “It’s time to move on.”

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