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Friday, April 13, 2007

CARES Lawsuit

Last October CARES settled the asbestos law suit with the City and Quality Enterprises USA, Inc. (QE). That settlement is known as the mediation agreement and it spelled out how the cleanup of Veterans Park was to be done and how the cleanup was to be funded. A copy of the mediation agreement is attached.

Last month the City Manager entered into negotiations with QE to implement the mediation agreement. They came out of the negotiations with an agreement they refer to as a contract between the City and QE. A copy of that contract is also attached.

In items 6 & 7 of the mediation agreement with CARES the City agreed to make demand and pursue recovery of any expenses connected with remediation of asbestos on sites C and A. In item 8 of the mediation agreement the CITY agreed to hold QE to fulfill its contractual obligation under the Collier Blvd construction program.

In the contract between the City and QE items 2.1, 2.2 and Exhibit D there is reference to the requirements 6 & 7 of the mediation agreement but from what is written it sounds like the City asked and QE said no and that was that. From all I read, there was no meaningful demand or good faith pursuit of QE to recover the taxpayers money. Back in October the taxpayers had already paid $70,000 in legal fees on site C alone and that was before two or three additional cleanups were performed on site C.

Also, in the contract QE there is not even a whisper of an attempt to satisfy the requirement of item 8 in the mediation agreement. This item was meant to be a direct reference to the terms of the Collier Blvd. construction contract with QE in which it states that QE must pay all legal fees and expenses connected with performance of this contract.

With these violations of the mediation agreement CARES was obligated to file the suit it filed yesterday because we must recover taxpayers money that has spent to cleanup a mess made by a contractor. The City never should have paid a cent for the cleanup. The City Manager under the terms of the construction contract should have made immediate demand for remediation on QE's insurance carrier and its bonding company as soon as asbestos was found on Veterans Park.

In closing, let me say that the law suit does not and will no stop the cleanup effort it is meant to make the company responsible for the asbestos mess pay for its cleanup, nothing more.

Doug Enman

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