The Project Development Board has voted not to reimburse the requested $4,000 in damages caused by mold until the tenant and landlord seeking recovery of the money work out certain details.
Attorney Natalie Lile’s office is in the Potts Building next to the construction site for the Franklin County Judicial Center. Her office was closed several days for repairs after mold was found in the drywall of the wall that faces the new courthouse.
Lile and her landlord, Craig Potts, say they believe the mold is a result of the activity next door, but construction officials at Monday’s meeting said the exact cause of the mold couldn’t be determined.
“Although we said we would go ahead and remove the mold, we didn’t accept any responsibility as far as causing the mold,” Bill Bridges, Codell construction manager, told the board at it meeting Monday.
“But we had done the demolition, exposed the brick that was, at one time, an interior brick wall, so the assumption is the water would have absorbed into the brick, leak its way down and cause the mold, but that’s not a proven fact.”
Lile, who wasn’t at the meeting, is seeking $4,000 in lost profits and refunds on rent from Potts, who appealed to the board at its June meeting to compensate him on the costs. The issue was pushed back to Monday’s meeting after the board failed to reach a quorum at last month’s session.
Potts also wasn’t at Monday’s meeting because he was out of town for work, said Franklin County Planning Director Robert Hewitt. After the repairs were completed, Hewitt said he spoke with Potts, who told him he was “extremely pleased” with the results.
Construction officials and board members said Monday that $4,000 was an “arbitrary” amount and they would want a breakdown of the costs before compensating Potts.
Members said the “loss of profits” was unclear because Lile was already scheduled to be on vacation for the first three days of repairs, according to the letter Lile had written to Potts requesting compensation.
But Lile also says in the letter that, before the repairs were scheduled, she wasn’t planning on closing the office those three days because her secretary was still scheduled to come in.
Board members said they also wanted an explanation of the costs after construction officials said as long as the wall is exposed, it’s possible the mold will come back and more repairs will have to be made.
Hewitt told The State Journal last month that “flashing” – essentially pieces of metal that’ll deflect water from the building – will be added to the roof of the Potts Building, but Bridges said Monday that feature won’t be installed for at least another few months, or until construction of that side of the courthouse nears completion.
The board then voted not to compensate Potts without further clarification from Lile.
“Let them resolve it, and if he pays her X number of dollars, (Potts can) come back to us,” Commonwealth’s Attorney and board member Larry Cleveland said.
The board’s next meeting is Aug. 27.