I came across a settlement with the City of Greensboro for what was proven to be financial harassment. The problem was, the payment didn't get voted on by City Council and didn't appear where I looked for it a couple times along with records requests.
Last night I received the following from City of Greensboro attorney S. Mujeeb Shah-Khan;
"You may be wondering what permitted the settlement of the claim with Koury Corporation for $200,000.00. While it was initially thought Council approval might be needed, Section 7.03 of the City Charter permits the Manager to resolve claims like Koury’s. Here’s what the Charter states:
Sec. 7.03. Settlement of claims by city manager.
The city manager may settle claims against the city for: (i) personal injury or for damages to property when the amount involved does not exceed the sum of three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) and does not exceed the actual loss sustained...
The settlement allowing Koury to be paid $200,000.00 is permitted under the City Charter."
S. Mujeeb Shah-Khan
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY
Problem 1; Relayed by Assistant City Manager Michael Speedling, who wrote;
"From: Speedling, Michael Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 11:45 AM
To: McDowell, Kenney; Scott, Andrew Cc: Simmons, Butch; Keesee, Dena
Subject: RE: Koury N Elm issue - Domestic Water Pump
Thanks for the background. My concern is the same as yours. If we approve this request it will open the door for many more."
Michael J. Speedling
Assistant City Manager
City of Greensboro, NC
This payment to a major City Council campaign contributor was going to be, and then wasn't put on a publicly available Council agenda.
I read this as there are some businesses that receive special treatment from the City, and others that don't, and that it was in the best interests of those allocating the money to not publicize what appears to have been a unnecessary gift to a company whose employees and relations fund multiples of City Council candidates.
If some decided the payment would not have to be disclosed to the public, which City Council members knew of, and/or advocated for the payment, and/or knew that it wouldn't be made public?
How many other businesses got checks for the same issue, and how many did not?
How many "Settlement of Claims" like this have gone under the radar to whom for what?
Problem 2; The settlement appears to have been denied by then City of Greensboro Manager Rashad Young, objected to by city staff citing regulations, and overpaid by the city;
"Water Resources continues to recommend denying the request to reimburse for a domestic pump for this Koury Development. Should it ultimately be determined politically to pay, you should see what they actually spent. If it is more than 50K it’s too much in our opinion."
Kenney McDowell, PE, Interim Director
Water Resources Department
City of Greensboro
December 19, 2011
From: McDowell, Kenney
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 11:43 AM
To: Scott, Andrew; Speedling, Michael
Cc: Simmons, Butch; Keesee, Dena
Subject: Koury N Elm issue - Domestic Water Pump
In brief, the Water Resources Department gets involved with pumps from a fire protection standpoint which is different from the Koury situation where they needed a pump for domestic pressure concerns. I have attached the fire flow data below just so you can take a look if interested but in summary over the last 2 years, 11 fire pumps have been installed in our system.
The moral of the story is that when any project is designed, the engineer on the project is responsible for determining the pressure needs of a project and addressing those during design be it for fire or domestic...
I will again point out that our Rules and Regulations do not guarantee pressure and that is reiterated on our water permits.
From our rules and regs:
J. Guarantee of Quantity, Quality or Pressure; The City of Greensboro operates its water and sewer systems based in accordance with the Federal and State regulations. The City does not
guarantee the quality, quantity or pressure of its water supply.
From: Borchers, Mike
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2012 5:02 PM
To: Drew, Steve
Cc: Boyd, Brian; McDowell, Kenney
Subject: North Elm Village Information
Attached is a copy of the water permit application which has the following statement:
As a condition of receiving a water permit, the applicant must certify that the proposed
extension shall be able to sufficiently produce the flows required for the projects fire
and/or sprinkler demands. This includes, but is not limited to any necessary pumping
or storage throughout the proposed extension without negatively impacting the existing
Also, under Section J of our water and sewer rules and regulations (attached as well) we make the following disclaimer:
J. Guarantee of Quantity, Quality or Pressure
The City of Greensboro operates its water and sewer systems based in accordance with the Federal and State regulations. The City does not guarantee the quality, quantity or pressure of its water supply. It is hereby made a portion of the terms on which the City furnished water to
consumers that the City shall in no case be liable to any consumer for any defect in quality, quantity or pressure. The City shall not be liable to any consumer for damages resulting from the complete or partial cutting off of water; and no deduction shall be made from any water bill by reason of any such defect or deficiency. ...The owner or occupant shall be entirely responsible for his equipment and shall hold the City in no way responsible for damage thereof.
A payment to a major City Council campaign donor that was denied by a prior city manager, was thought of as not a good idea from staff, was paid without transparent public disclosure by a different city manager, and approved by the city's attorney as a "Settlement of Claims", instead of what would have been a publicly disclosed reimbursement, for what appears to be a payment that contradicts City of Greensboro rules and regulations.
Problem 3; The third problem is that in an email, Greensboro budget director Larry Davis put "overbuild" in quotations;
"Denise has asked me to confirm whether or not we have made the reimbursement payment to Koury regarding the North Elm Street Development “overbuild” of water/sewer infrastructure."
From: Davis, LarrySent: Friday, July 27, 2012 10:07 AM
To: Lusk, Rick; Druga, Marlene; McDowell, Kenney; Drew, Steve
Problem 4; The agenda item that Greensboro's City Council and the public never saw said the city was responsible for a building code change at the state level, after the pumps were installed;
"The City Manager’s Office received a claim from Koury Corporation for damages sustained by Koury during construction of the mixed used commercial and residential development at North Elm Village on Pisgah Church Road. At that time the City interpreted the Building and Fire Code to require Koury to purchase and install three pumps and one backup generator to maintain water pressure in all buildings equipped with a back flow preventor. Subsequent to this, during the NC Building Code triennial revision, the backflow preventor requirement was reduced, making the booster pump and backup generator no longer necessary."The City of Greensboro appears to have taken responsibility for what it wasn't responsible for, at the expense of taxpayers who weren't informed, for the benefit of a connected few.
Subsequent means after, meaning the city correctly told Koury what to do according to a code that existed at the time, and after the state changed the code, Koury received a "settlement" for what was not legally owed that the city didn't even remotely should have felt obliged to pay, but did anyway.
Problem 4; On September 3, 2013 "for the construction of a portion of the High Point Road Streetscape project";
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF GREENSBORO: That the reimbursement agreement between the City of Greensboro and Koury Corporation, Inc. in the amount of $190,746.25 presented herewith this day is hereby authorized..."
Problem 5; There have been quite a few pretty big payments to Koury Corporation over the years, per the City of Greensboro;
I believe this issue needs to be investigated.
I believe something was not above board.
So far, there has been no accountability.
Very rarely has there ever been only one cockroach found after spotting the first.
Considering the money handed out to campaign contributors last year, Greensboro appears to have been infected with a good chunk of what ails our country.
It needs fixed for our community to have a level playing field to offer businesses looking to expand or relocate.
The above appears to be favoritism for some who are connected to the establishment, at the expense of everyone else who isn't, and no for profit media outlet wants to report it as yet.
I do not intend to sacrifice in vain.
City of Greensboro Information Request on Koury Corporation's $200,000
Updated; Guess who appears to have paid for Koury Corp's water pressure fix
Koury's $200,000 check paid by the City of Greensboro on 7/31/12