By Karen Kennedy
The Carmel Redevelopment Commission has chosen to settle a lawsuit stemming from the construction of the Center for the Performing Arts.
A company called Crider & Crider, a subcontractor of Hagerman Construction Corporation, was originally seeking $750,000. The company was hired by the CRC to perform limestone and concrete work.
Crider & Crider claimed it was never paid for its excavation work and brought suit against both the CRC and Hagerman. Hagerman then filed a cross-claim against the CRC.
According to assistant city attorney Ashley Ulbricht, the city’s legal department determined that it would be less expensive to settle the claim for $575,000 than to allow it to go to litigation or continue to accrue interest.
“It is good to have this dispute behind us,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said of the settlement.
During its board meeting Feb. 19, the CRC also voted to relieve the Center for the Performing Arts of the burden of the “Energy Center ticket surcharge,” which totaled $29,000 in 2012 and was identified as missing funds in the 2013 State Board of Accounts audit.
According to CRC consultant Jim Higgins of London Witte, the executive director of the Center for the Performing Arts at the time the surcharge was originally levied neglected to add the charge into the ticket prices and the funds were never collected.
Higgins also said that the debt associated with the Energy Center surcharge had already been rolled into the refinance of the CRC and that the debt no longer exists. The board voted unanimously to relieve the Center of this responsibility and retain the funds.
CRC board member Brad Meyer also questioned invoices presented to the CRC from attorney Karl Haas.
“Is this all for one month? Is this all CRC-related?” Meyer asked.
Haas said that the invoices were actually for three months of his time and that they were all, in fact, CRC-related. Meyer questioned why three months of time would be billed all at once, to which Haas responded that he had had “an accounting problem.”
Meyer asked CRC financial consultant Mike Lee if he had reviewed the invoices, and Lee said that he had. The invoices were eventually approved.
Meyer also asked for additional clarification on other consulting contracts presented for approval.
Lee also said that monies were owed to the CRC from REI and the Keystone Group. According to Lee, REI is behind in their payments by two months, for a total of $20,000 and that Keystone Group owed the CRC $172,000. No further explanation was given.