Courthouse lawsuit drags on

The lawsuit against the contractors responsible for shoddy workmanship, legal bills footed by taxpayers, and the lovely drapes on our courthouse drags on.

The Freeholders under Lou Magazzu, attempting to protect their friends, refused to file a lawsuit until it was almost too late. Fortunately pressure from concerned citizens such as those behind MWatch forced the issue.

The time limit to file expires next month, Lou Magazzu has allowed the case to drag on to the very cusp and understandably the defendants are in no hurry to file anything.

The problem, as reported in The News:

The Cumberland County freeholder board filed a complaint in 2007 against Vitetta, Gilbane Building Company, Arthur J. Ogren Inc. and Continental Cast Stone, alleging that failure to properly construct a 1995 addition to the courthouse resulted in serious water damage to the building.

It is estimated repairs to the building would cost between $8.4 million and $16 million.

$8-16 million is a BIG mistake. No where is there any mention of the alleged news that the basement windows that flooded were installed backwards.  It seems the repairs will cost more than the original construction. AND – these construction outfits have been allowed to big on, and get new work in the county.

Is it me, or would it be prudent to wait and see how the lawsuit shakes out before we throw more money at a comapny that is possibly at fault?

I find this particularly amusing:

Cumberland County officials hope that the lawsuit will result in the county being able to recoup some of the money it must spend to repair the courthouse facade.

Lou wants to recoup SOME of the money – still leaving taxpayers responsible for a problem caused by the contractors. I don’t know, weren’t there blueprints of the new project? Wasn’t there a foreman or supervisor that checked on the work? Aren’t there county building code inspectors that are supposed to ensure that work is up to code, and according to plan? Why the cover-up for ten years?

Could it be that Vitteta Group is a major Democrat campaign contributor in South Jersey, pumping tons of cash into the Camden and Gloucester machines, as well as smaller contributions to persons such as Ed Salmon? To be fair, Vitetta contributes to Republican campaigns in areas where the R’s are in the majority.

Gilbane, a major Republican contributor, still managed to find a few extra dollars in his wallet for Camden County Democrats. To their credit Ogren and Continental Cast Stone seem to be apolitical, I can find no trail of contributions to any party; at least not on the surface.

As always, stay tuned…


7 Responses to Courthouse lawsuit drags on

  1. JamesRSauro says:

    I’m starting to like the drapes on the outside of the building. If we keep them we could change the colors throughout the year for different holidays. What do you think.

  2. WuLi says:

    We could dye them red and call them the Gates of Cumberland County!

  3. Guess-Who says:

    I’m surprised that Cumberland County hasn’t had to hire a Consultant or Consulting Firm to tell them the perfect Color for the Drapery for the Sides of the Courthouse Building.
    Maybe Lou can find the County an Exterior Decorator to Dress Up the Appearance of the Building.

    How is the CC Prosecutors Building coming along?
    Didn’t the Bigley settlement Guarantee within 4yrs they would have their Building Completed?

  4. RDOwens says:

    While I was in Oklahoma last year, we drove past a water tower. We all marveled at how it was decorated. It appeared to have a robe and a hat.

    When we drove past it a little while later, it appeared that we were mistaken; the tower was being prepped for painting.

    Really, it’s a missed opportunity. The water tower was so much more interesting when it was dressed. Perhaps the court house could be similarly clad.

  5. Curious says:

    Ogren is the same firm that everyone is so excited to have fixing the Levoy Theatre. Tax dollars being used again. A million from the CCIA alone. Not a single concern raised by anyone.
    Would it be different if Ogren was the low bid on another government project?
    Get real everyone.

  6. vineland voter says:

    the ‘alleged’ news regarding the basement windows is not true from what i have heard. an old clogged storm drain pipe & 10 foot deep window wells were what ultimately caused the flood. real story is why there was no flood insurance.

  7. Vineland Voter if what you are saying is true then who ever is responsable for buildings and grounds is not doing there job.Maybe they have to start looking for good qualified people and not who they know.If I was sitting on the jury I would have to put some of the blame on the county.That dosen’t look good if it goes to trail.That is my opion.Nobody noticed the clogg before’and why wasn’t there window well covers over those deep wells.God for bid if a child playing around there fell in and got hurt.I wonder how many county property’s have dangerous conditions around them.Dose anyone have time and a good camera.That would cause a big shake up or is it called a wake up.

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