Tuesday, July 17, 2018
News Roundup

St. Pete Pier demolition contractor owes money, says staffing company

ST. PETERSBURG — Along with being months behind schedule in demolishing the Pier, Sonny Glasbrenner Inc. is again the target of allegations that it has fallen behind paying its bills.

Rick Hermanns, CEO of Trojan Labor, a Charleston, S.C., staffing company, said Glasbrenner owes his company more than $100,000. That cost is mainly from a job at Clearwater's Morton Plant Hospital, he said.

In October, another staffing company, Harris Ventures in Georgia, sued Glasbrenner, claiming the Clearwater company had failed to pay its bills and bounced a check. The matter has since been resolved.

Hermanns said that as a St. Petersburg resident, he's upset that tax dollars are going to pay Glasbrenner's $3.2 million contract with the city. The company has been paid $1.2 million so far.

"Why am I paying money to a company that is screwing me on another job?" Hermanns said, adding that he plans to take his concerns to the City Council.

"We've been trying to collect our money," he said. "Every third week or so, they are bouncing checks to us."

Hermanns said the most recent rejected electronic payment was for $4,792.28 on March 22.

Pate Clements, Glasbrenner's president, responded to questions about Hermanns in a similar fashion when asked last year about Harris Ventures.

"Unfortunately, this is part of the process of doing business today," Clements said. "This will be cleared up eventually as well, just like the last one."

Meanwhile, demolition of the old Pier, which had been scheduled to be complete in February, continues. Michael Ryle, the city's assistant engineering director, said "substantial completion" is now expected in late September.

That might be cutting it close, since construction of the new pier could begin as early as October, according to Chuck Jablon, operations vice president for Skanska USA, the project's construction manager.

Glasbrenner finished demolishing the inverted pyramid — the city's iconic pier building for more than 40 years — last fall. The firm, though, is still working on removing the deck on which it sat.

Financial issues have not delayed the project, Clements said.

"I have plenty of manpower and plenty of equipment," he said. "There is nothing wrong with the pier job, but in order to do it safely, this is the only way to do it."

In an email, Ryle said the project has been more time consuming than anticipated because of safety concerns.

"Since the pier head has been reconstructed and modified three times over its life and some areas are significantly deteriorated, demolition has been slower and more deliberate for the safety of the contractor," he said.

Ryle said payments on Glasbrenner's contract are made based on work completed monthly, with a 20-day delay in payment. The city also withholds 10 percent of the money paid on the contract.

"At this time, we are holding $120,000. This will increase each month up to 10 percent of $3.2 million," Ryle said.

He added that no staffing company or subcontractor has complained to the city about delinquent payments and that he doesn't have concerns about Glasbrenner's ability to hire staff for the job.

About eight to 10 people work on the project each day, Ryle said.

"The manpower is limited based on available space to operate equipment and stockpile debris," he said.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this article. Contact Waveney Ann Moore at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes

Comments
Fired Hernando school superintendent Lori Romano finds a job in the county next door — Pasco

Fired Hernando school superintendent Lori Romano finds a job in the county next door — Pasco

Lori Romano, fired from the Hernando County superintendent post for "ineffective leadership" a month ago, has snagged a job in the neighboring Pasco County school district.She won’t be nearly as high up the administrative ladder in her new role.Subje...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Ybor City mainstay La Segunda opens second location, introduces seating

Ybor City mainstay La Segunda opens second location, introduces seating

TAMPA — It’s like stepping off Kennedy Boulevard right into Ybor City.From the exposed brick and wrought iron accents to the street lamp-styled globe lights hanging from the ceiling and the signage — blue and red divided by a ribbon of gold — the new...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tash: Newsprint tariffs are hurting newspapers, local communities

Tash: Newsprint tariffs are hurting newspapers, local communities

Editor’s note: Paul Tash, chairman and CEO of the Tampa Bay Times and Times Publishing Co., spoke Tuesday before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington. The commission is considering whether to make permanent the recently imposed tarif...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Update: Duke Energy restores power to St. Pete traffic lights

ST. PETERSBURG — Power was restored to the traffic signals at six intersections that were knocked out Tuesday afternoon by a Duke Energy power outrage, according to St. Petersburg police.Police remind motorists that when they encounter an intersectio...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Maggy Hurchalla joked this spring that all she could offer a billionaire who won a $4.4 million judgment against her after she exercised her free speech rights were "two kayaks and an aging Toyota.’’ The billionaire didn’t laugh. This week, Martin Co...
Updated: 2 hours ago
SWAT team, K-9’s and bomb squad drill at Strawberry Crest High to prevent next mass shooting

SWAT team, K-9’s and bomb squad drill at Strawberry Crest High to prevent next mass shooting

DOVER — Carlos Gonzalez, the head of custodians at Strawberry Crest High School, sat in his golf cart Tuesday morning as the Hillsborough County sheriff’s aerial unit circled in a helicopter above, casting long, jagged shadows on the football field b...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Louisiana shipbuilder hopes to bring 1,000 jobs to Tampa shipyard through Coast Guard icebreaker program

Louisiana shipbuilder hopes to bring 1,000 jobs to Tampa shipyard through Coast Guard icebreaker program

TAMPA — Tampa Ship could welcome more than 1,000 new shipbuilding jobs if Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards wins a major contract to build up to six Coast Guard polar icebreakers.Bollinger could start staffing up at Tampa Ship, which has 62 acres a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Robert Traurig, who helped build one of the world’s largest law firms, dies at 93

Robert Traurig, who helped build one of the world’s largest law firms, dies at 93

Robert Traurig helped build one of the largest law firms in the world and, in so doing, swept Miami-Dade County upward.Brickell Avenue skyscrapers. Open-air malls like Cocowalk in Coconut Grove. Residential communities on the edge of the Everglades. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida teen with peanut allergy dies after eating Chips Ahoy! cookie

Florida teen with peanut allergy dies after eating Chips Ahoy! cookie

A 15-year-old Florida girl with a peanut allergy died last month after she ate what she believed to be regular Chips Ahoy! Chewy cookies.Alexi Ryann Stafford, of Weston, was at a friend’s house when she grabbed the cookie while the re-sealable top of...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago