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Auditor’s invoice could be turned over to collections

By Staff | Nov 13, 2010

Michael Kessler, an auditor a council majority had hoped would return to the city to complete a forensic audit into the Cape’s utility expansion program, has notified the city he may turn an unpaid invoice for work completed over to a collections agent if the city doesn’t make good on the bill.
A Kessler International “Final” invoice to the city dated Oct. 2 of this year shows that Kessler is looking to collect on a $2,123.55 bill that the city has not paid because council has not agreed to written contract terms.
The invoice also states that a percentage rate of 18 percent is applied to all past due accounts.
On Sunday, Oct 31, Kessler wrote to Mayor John Sullivan, “I in good faith and email provided by Dona (Newman) performed all the work that was billed. At this point I have no alternative than to provide the file to a collection attorney to collect funds due.”
Kessler said Friday from his office in New York that the bill has yet to be turned over to a collections attorney.
“We assess these situations on a regular basis. It could go to invoice tomorrow, and it may not go at all,” Kessler said.
Mayor John Sullivan said the matter likely will have to go before city council for a vote. He said he could make a motion to pay the tab to see if it garners support on the dais, but did not indicate whether he would make the motion during Monday’s meeting.
While not prepared to support a full- blown court battle to obtain records from the city’s utility projects manager, MWH, Sullivan did say he’s still expecting an opinion from the city attorney’s office on the issue.
“I want the court to decide if those records are public or not,” Sullivan said. “If we can’t get them, chances are we aren’t moving forward.”
Kessler has said he needs the records to complete the audit.
MWH officials have said all requested records that are public were provided during the first audit performed and they have refused to release additional documents.
Councilmember Marty McClain, who has long voiced his dissatisfaction with restarting the Kessler Audit, said the city can’t be expected to pay a bill that had no contractual agreements attached.
“No one on city council even authorized the work,” McClain said. “You can’t legally pay anything without a contract that says you legally have to pay.”