In one of his last actions as mayor of Monticello, Joe Rogers on Wednesday released copies of letters he wrote to Arkansas State Police and the prosecuting attorney requesting a State Police investigation of issues surrounding a $10 million city water project.
Text of Rogers’ December 19, 2014 letter to State Police Col. Stan Witt and 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen:
On September 24th, 2013, Mayor Allen Maxwell signed a contract with Siemen’s Industry, Inc. headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, to begin a water project.
Due to the large number of problems, the City hired an outside attorney, Cliff Gibson, to review the contract and the issues. After he reviewed the contract and communicated with Siemen’s representatives several times, he prepared a 13 page letter to the City Council in which he identifies several areas of fraud and criminal intent and recommends a State Police investigation of the entire project that involves over $10 million of taxpayer money and addresses the legitimate concerns of the City and its citizens.
As Mayor and a citizen of Monticello, I respectfully ask for a complete investigation of the Siemen’s Water Project.
My term as mayor ends on December 31, 2014 and I am unsure if the next administration will pursue the issues addressed above and I am very concerned for the citizens of Monticello and their well-being.
I have enclosed a copy of Cliff Gibson’s letter to the City Council and all documents are available upon your request.
Sincerely, Mayor Joe Rogers
A State Police investigation was one of several recommendations Monticello attorney Cliff Gibson made to the City Council.
He also recommended that the city engage in mediation with Siemens in an effort to terminate the contract and recover the unearned portion of approximately $7 million the city has already paid Siemens, as well as damages suffered by the city (including the cost to repair defective water meters and their installation).
If Siemens refuses mediation or mediation fails to reach a resolution of the disputes, Gibson recommended that the city sue Siemens for fraud, misrepresentation, and breach of contract, pursuing both compensatory and punitive damages. Gibson outlined those recommendations to the City Council in his 13-page letter and at a December 18, 2014 Monticello City Council meeting.
While the city council at its December 18 meeting did not specifically agree to mediation, it did authorize Gibson to contact Siemens to schedule a date to discuss possible mediation. The following day, on December 19, 2014, Gibson contacted Siemens’ attorney Steven Shamash about possible mediation dates and asked that he provide a list of acceptable mediators. On December 22, 2014, Siemens responded via e-mail.
Text of e-mail from Siemens’ attorney Steven Shamash:
Siemens would be pleased to participate in good faith in a mediation as soon as may be convenient for all, which likely means we’re looking at mid-January or February due to the Holidays.
It will take me some time to get some proposed mediators. Siemens is of course also interested in considering any mediators that the city might propose.
Thanks again and best wishes to all for a great Holiday.
Read Gibson’s 13-page letter to the City Council and then-mayor Joe Rogers.
Read Joe Rogers’ letters to 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen, Arkansas State Police Col. Stan Witt, and the Monticello City Council and Monticello citizens.
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