Friday, November 16, 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

Football playoffs: Jefferson 34, Lakewood 23

Football playoffs: Jefferson 34, Lakewood 23

ST. PETERSBURG — Jefferson continues to prove that seedings don't matter in Class 5A. A week after upsetting top seed Hardee, the No. 8Dragons took down No. 4 seed Lakewood 34-23 in the region semifinals.Niko Duffey scored two first-half rushin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Football playoffs: Bloomingdale 21, Palmetto 14

Football playoffs: Bloomingdale 21, Palmetto 14

VALRICO — In the offseason, Bloomingdale coach Max Warner told his players the goal was to play on Thanksgiving weekend.That left a lot of perplexed looks from the Bulls."They didn't know what that meant," Warner said.Bloomingdale had neve...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Football playoffs: Plant 39, Viera 18

Football playoffs: Plant 39, Viera 18

VIERA — Once again, the Plant Panthers proved they're the kind of team that can take a little momentum … and run you over with it.That was the case in Friday night's Class 7A, Region 2 semifinal as the Panthers rallied from an 18-10 halft...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Football playoffs: Seffner Christian 27, Carrollwood Day 16

Football playoffs: Seffner Christian 27, Carrollwood Day 16

DOVER – Isaiah Knowles connected with Christian Helms on a pair on 10-yard touchdown tosses as Seffner Christian defeated Carrollwood Day 27-16 on Friday, giving the Crusaders their first playoff win in school history. The win, a rematch o...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Football playoffs: Nature Coast 17, Baker County 16

BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast, an easy winner most of its past 10 games, really never had the need to attempt a field goal this season. Nor did the Sharks need to throw much, despite quarterback Fabian "2 Fabe" Burnett possessing a talented arm.Bu...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Football playoffs: Admiral Farragut 40, Cambridge Christian 14

ST. PETERSBURG — Admiral Farragut's Courtney Eubanks came out for his first home playoff game ready to play.Early in the first quarter, Eubanks had an interception on defense and followed that play with a touchdown on offense as the Blue Jacket...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Football playoffs: Citra North Marion 40, Zephyrhills 21

ZEPHYRHILLS — Zephyrhills' perfect season is imperfect now that it is over. A 40-21 loss to Citra North Marion in Friday night's Class 5A region semifinal ended the Bulldogs' season at 11-1. They were ousted in the second round for a second str...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Football playoffs: Jesuit 31, Immokalee 3

TAMPA — What a celebratory year it would be if Jesuit could win its second state championship in the golden anniversary season of its first.The Tigers are three wins away from making that happen.Jesuit moved to the next round Friday with a 31-3...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Football playoffs: Clearwater Central Catholic 30, Tampa Catholic 3

CLEARWATER — A defense that strong can forgive a lot of sins. Coming off of a two-week break with an uncharacteristic streak of undisciplined play, Clearwater Central Catholic presented itself with more challenges in the early stages of Friday'...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Football playoffs: Armwood 65, Lake Weir 7

SEFFNER – E.J. Wilson scored four touchdowns and Aamaris Brown had an interception return for a touchdown to carry Armwood to a dominant 65-7 win against Lake Weir in the Class 6A region semifinals Friday.The 11-1 Hawks will travel to Ocala Van...
Updated: 2 hours ago