City sues engineering firm

Peter Silas Pasqua

The City of Donaldsonville followed through on its decision at its regular council meeting Tuesday to sue a Baton Rouge engineering firm, filing in 23rd District Court Thursday.

The city council contracted the Krestworth Group Inc. in November 2004 to design and manage levee top improvements along the Mississippi River banks.

In the suit, the city alleges that the firm released bids for advertising despite the fact that the state Office of Facility Planning and Control had rejected the specifications.

The suit also states that the city has paid Krestworth $30,000 and that the city is having to postpone the project.

City officials have been planning improvements to the downtown-area riverfront for nearly three years but are concerned that more than $500,000 in state funding could be lost if the project does not begin soon.

City Attorney Chuck Long told the council during its meeting that Dalton Honoré's Krestworth Group Inc. initially was receptive to allowing Glenn G. Shaheen & Associates Inc., a consulting engineering firm retained by the city, to use plans Honoré designed.

The city was taking contractors' bids in July 2007 to build brick walkways, seating areas and decorative lighting when the plans were rejected.

Long said Honoré failed to return phone calls after Shaheen advised the council more information was needed to decipher plans drawn up by the firm.

"Honoré has been ornery," Long quipped.

The council voted unanimously to sue Honoré.

In another matter, financial consultant Steve Nosacka of Trinity Capital Resources told the council construction bids and construction loan bids to repair the city's natural gas system are being solicited and should be approved by the Rural Utility System Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in time for a July start.

The project is estimated to cost $1.3 million.

Also, a request by Councilman Tony Huey to use the city-owned Lemann Center at no charge for a recreational summer camp drew an outrage from Councilman Charles Brown Sr.

Brown said Huey had not supported other efforts to allow free use of the Lemann Center for summer camps.

"You didn't vote for any one of the camps," Brown said. "You said you had a problem with the camps and now all of a sudden because of an election year, you got an educational camp."

Huey denied he was trying to curry favor during an election year.

"This has nothing to do with me getting re-elected," Huey said. "This is about 20 kids."

Huey then tabled his request and no action was taken.

In another matter the council introduced the 2008-09 Annual Budget and ammened 2007-08 Budget.

The council also appointed Lloyd Bernard to the West Ascension Recreation Committee and Cynthia Jackson to the Industrial Development Board.