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Morris: Claims against board are 'baseless'

Monday, July 11, 2011

By AMANDA BUCK - Bulletin Staff Writer

Patrick County School Superintendent Roger Morris on Sunday called "baseless" claims made in a lawsuit filed last week against the Patrick County School Board and the project developer of its school renovation project.

In a statement emailed late Sunday, Morris wrote that the school board has consulted with its attorney about the suit, which was filed by T.U. Parks Construction against the board and Ameresco Inc. The construction firm was contractor for the school construction project, in which renovation work was done to all seven of the county's schools.

According to the complaint filed Thursday, the school board contracted with Ameresco, a Massachusetts firm, in August 2008 and named it developer for the project. The complaint says Ameresco contracted with Parks, of Chattanooga, Tenn., about a year later and named it contractor for the project.

In the complaint, Parks alleges that Ameresco breached its contract and owes the construction firm more than $2.3 million.

The complaint says that Parks alleges no wrongdoing on the part of the school board. However, it asserts that if Ameresco does not pay Parks what it believes it is owed, the school board should be obligated to pay for the work from which it has benefited.

In the statement, Morris said, "After consulting with the School Board attorney, we strongly believe this filing against the school board has no merit. The School Board will defend itself aggressively against these baseless claims. Further the School Board has worked to ensure that the taxpayers have received a good value for the project."�

The total cost of the renovation project has been estimated at $25 million.

The statement, which notes that school officials generally do not comment on issues related to court matters, says no further comments will be made.


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