Waveland wants lawsuit dismissed

Published 11:31 am Saturday, October 13, 2012

Waveland officials are seeking dismissal of a lawsuit from a contractor who claims the city owes it $1.36 million for post-Hurricane Katrina cleanup work.

The Sea Coast Echo reported that T.C.B. Construction of Poplarville sued the city in 2009 in Hancock County Circuit Court claiming it was owed money from its tree-cutting contract.

The city’s motion, filed this month, has not been heard by Circuit Judge John Gargiulo.

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The case was stayed shortly after it was filed because the city was appealing FEMA’s decision to de-obligate funds from the project.

T.C.B. was awarded the debris cleaning contract for Waveland after Katrina in 2005.

In 2006, the city amended its contract with T.C.B. to include hanging and leaning trees and uprooted stumps. The company submitted invoices totaling $3.2 million, but it was only paid $1.85 million.

While T.C.B’s contract was with Waveland, Waveland was receiving funding for the project from FEMA.

The city claims the contract limited T.C.B to “the total value received” from FEMA, which was $1.8 million

According to court documents, FEMA performed an audit of all the work by T.C.B. and found several discrepancies with the actual work and the amounts billed.

FEMA found that T.C.B. billed for more trees than were actually cut, billed for work which was not done, billed for work done by church groups, altered tickets, worked in ineligible areas and billed for trees already on the ground, court documents said.

Overall, FEMA found that only 58 percent of the work which was billed to the city was legally done.

FEMA also said some of the contracted prices, such as $330 per stump removal, were “excessive.”

FEMA said it would not pay the remainder of the invoices. T.C.B. sued Waveland to recover the money.

In March 2012, Waveland learned that FEMA had denied its appeal on the $1.36 million de-obligation.