Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Hernando County, jail contractor reach settlement over withheld payment

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County has reached a tentative settlement with Corrections Corporation of America over $1.86 million the county withheld in payments to the former operator of the Hernando County Detention Center.

In mediation on Monday, the parties agreed to end a federal lawsuit filed by CCA in September 2010. The company would give the county $100,000 and retain the rest of the money, which has been held by the court since shortly after the suit was filed.

The County Commission will vote Feb. 14 on whether to approve the settlement.

"It was the best outcome we could hope for under the circumstances,'' said Commissioner Dave Russell, who attended Monday's mediation session.

The county was looking at a full-blown trial in federal court, depositions, expert witnesses, and "it could have taken literally hundreds of hours of county time as it stretched on,'' Russell said. "In the long run, it would have likely cost us more money to come up with less money.''

In 2010, the county was grappling with how to make needed repairs to the jail as CCA was pulling out of the facility and the sheriff was taking over. There were several outstanding issues between the county and CCA, including how much the company owed for failing to properly maintain the facility and disputes about the inventory inside the jail.

The County Commission withheld its final payment to the company.

The county paid for an engineering report to detail what was needed to bring the facility back up to acceptable standards. The report detailed nearly $15 million in repairs and remodeling and determined that CCA was responsible for about $1 million of deferred maintenance. Officials have since questioned the total figure.

County officials had hoped that by withholding the final payment to CCA, they could have a dialogue about what was actually owed to the county. But the filing of the lawsuit stopped those discussions.

"The actual amount of the dispute was considerably smaller'' than the $1.86 million withheld, said assistant county attorney Jon Jouben.

He said he was pleased with the outcome of Monday's mediation.

"In any successful mediation, neither side gets exactly what they're looking for. But I can comfortably recommend this settlement as fair and equitable under the circumstances to the board on Feb. 14,'' Jouben said.

"I can confirm for you that there is a tentative settlement," CCA spokesman Steve Owen said, "but because it is not finalized, there is really nothing more I can add at this point.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
The Bucsí problem isnít how they finish; itís how they start

The Bucsí problem isnít how they finish; itís how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA ó A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from female students at the school, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Column: Trumpís Kirsten Gillibrand tweet is just the beginning of the #MeToo backlash

Column: Trumpís Kirsten Gillibrand tweet is just the beginning of the #MeToo backlash

With all the prominent men being accused of various forms of sexual harassment and abuse, weíve gotten used to a certain kind of statement the men make when the news breaks.Sometimes they deny the accusations, sometimes they apologize if their behavi...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

Fire at Tampa townhome complex caused by faulty air-conditioner unit

TAMPA ó A malfunctioning air conditioning unit sparked the fire that damaged several homes at the Brookshire Townhomes on Monday, authorities said.Investigators concluded the fire started on the back patio of unit B103 when the power supply of a cond...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago

Plant City boy, 12, dies in Mulberry crash as car turns into path of semi

MULBERRY ó A 12-year-old Plant City boy died Tuesday when the car he was riding in turned into the path of a semitrailer on State Road 60, authorities said. Miguel Resendiz was riding in an eastbound BMW 328xi when its driver, 29-year-old Maricela Re...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Bayís mortgage delinquency rate crept up in December

Tampa Bayís mortgage delinquency rate crept up in December

Times Staff WriterThe percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners who are late on their mortgage payments rose slightly in September, probably due to Hurricane Irma. According to CoreLogic, 7 percent of bay area mortgages were delinquent by at least 30 days c...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Unusual paddle design earns worldwide market

Unusual paddle design earns worldwide market

Paddling on the heels of the last supermoon of 2017, Phil Hughes navigated an uncommonly low tide off Dunedin through St. Joseph Sound on an effortless but lengthy glide.This is not easy water, nor an easy paddle, and could be especially daunting for...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Nicko's Fine Foods, classic diner and Seminole Heights icon, closes after six decades

Nicko's Fine Foods, classic diner and Seminole Heights icon, closes after six decades

Nicko’s Fine Foods, known as the place Elvis Presley ate following a 1956 concert and Tampa’s last classic prefabricated diner, has shut down after more than 60 years in business. Owners Karen and Nicholas Liakos could not be reached for...
Updated: 2 hours ago