Troubles continue for jail project

By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer

 The original substantial completion date for the Cloud County Law Enforcement Center was in September, and it could be longer before it's finished.
 At the Oct. 15 owner's meeting, Tom Wierenga, superintendent with Zahner-Hansen Construction said the second substantial completion date of Oct. 17 would not be met and would need to be pushed back to at least Nov. 1.
Wierenga said at the meeting last week that the electrical contractor - Hot Wire Electric out of St. Louis - was not able to pay his employees, and they had left the project.
 Hans Hansen, a principal with Zahner-Hansen, said he had brought a new crew of workers in to complete the unfinished electrical work because Hot Wire could not make its payroll. He said at the time that he had paid Hot Wire for the work, and he had been in contact with some of the employees about returning to the job on Zahner-Hansen's payroll.
However, Darryl Carron, owner of Hot Wire Electric, said Friday that wasn't the case.
 "I notified Hans (Hansen) on Wednesday of last week (Oct. 9), that without receiving payment from him, there was a chance our guys might not return," Carron said.
 Carron said he received no payment from Hansen, and his crew did not return to the job site.
 "They did not quit on me," he said. "They simply could not go back. I have not been paid by Zahner-Hansen, and there have been a number of months that we haven't received a check from them."
Carron said the contract states that once Zahner-Hansen is paid by the County Commission, they have 10 days to pay their subcontractors.
 "There's been three or four months that we've went without having any money coming in at all from them, and we'd have to float the job out there," Carron said.
 Workers from Hot Wire Electric have been on the site since construction began in September 2012. He estimated that they would need another four to five weeks to finish their work - provided they get back on the job.
 "We're committed to finishing the project from start to finish," Carron said. "Our intent is to finish what we started."
Carron said he was in the process of writing a letter to Hansen laying out his requirements to get back on the job.
 "My guys are on standby - they're ready to go back to work and finish the project," he said. "As soon as we have money in our account to pay these guys in full - and those are my terms - they will be out there, and they will stay until this project is 100 percent complete."
 Should an agreement not be reached, Carron said he would pursue legal action. It wouldn't be the first legal action Carron has taken against Zahner-Hansen. He said he is currently in a legal battle with the company over nonpayment for work on another jail project in Stockton, Mo.
 "We have pulled off the job in Stockton at the advice of our attorney after not receiving payment for four months," Carron said. "He told us to get off the job, and it's going through the legal system as we speak."
Carron also said the crew brought in by Hansen to complete the electrical work at the jail was not properly licensed.
 Bruno Rehbein, Concordia building inspector, said Friday that Branson Electric Company, who had been brought in to complete the work, was no longer on the job because they were not licensed in the city of Concordia. He said they left the job at noon on Thursday.


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