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Auditor cites city’s payment history as reason for advance

By Staff | Jun 5, 2010

Michael Kessler told the city its “poor payment history” for the previous audit is the reason his firm is seeking payment for “work completed to date” and a retainer for this second go round at examining the relationship between Cape Coral and MWH.
In an e-mail to City Auditor Dona Newman from Kessler dated May 21, 2010, in which the two sides are attempting to negotiate the terms of the new contract, Kessler wrote:
“A clause should be added that delineates a retainer up front which is to be replenished as work is billed. I was reminded of the poor payment history of your office by my accounting department. If you recall it took over 4 months to pay the final invoice.”
Dona Newman said recently that the Request For Proposal associated with the previous audit indicated final payment due upon receipt of all “deliverables.” She said Kessler took 45 days to deliver those documents, and the amount was in the “$7,000 ballpark.”
“We weren’t willing to pay him his final amount until we received his work papers,” Newman said. “It took some time to provide those papers, but once we did receive them, we complied, and paid within 45 days.”
Newman said the two sides are still trying to hammer out the details.
Kessler wrote that he wants to paid for work to date, as well as receive the advance before the remainder of work commences.
Mayor John Sullivan said he feels comfortable paying Kessler prior to work starting in earnest,and doesn’t believe he is asking for the entire, not-to-exceed, amount of $60,000 approved by council.
The question remains whether Kessler can obtain the documents from MWH, the city’s general utility contractor.
Dona Newman said, at this point, she’s just trying to make sure both sides feel comfortable with the contract.
“All were doing is trying to capture in legal terms what he (Kessler) wants in the contract.,” she said. “We’re not trying to second guess anybody. We’re just trying to get it clear.”
No dollar amount was provided concerning work done to date nor was the amount of any requested retainer released.
E-mails to Michael Kessler were not answered by press time.