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MWH president responds to remarks, defends reputation

By Staff | Mar 14, 2011

MWH President Joseph Adams responded to recent comments by Mayor John Sullivan on Monday, defending the company as the city’s utilities contractor and its reputation.
In a letter sent to Sullivan and copied to all of the city’s top brass dated Monday, March 14, Adams wrote: “We are very concerned about statements made by you and others about us during recent City of Cape Coral council meetings and finance committee meetings. Particularly troubling are the allegations of ‘potential criminal activity’ as well as your statement ‘These guys are in trouble in California, they’re in trouble in New Orleans and they should be in trouble with Cape Coral.'”
Adams continued, “These remarks indicate to us that you and others do not have a complete and accurate understanding of the facts about our company, the work we did with the City of Cape Coral on the Cape Coral Utilities Expansion Programs (UEP), or the work we have done in New Orleans, Louisiana and Los Osos, California.”
In the letter, MWH also indicated the city would be responsible for any costs associated with the “reproduction, labor and associated costs required for any records,” and that it would develop a budget for the city so it can produce an working estimate for the audit.
The city of Cape Coral is contractually obligated to pay those costs, according to letters to Sullivan and to City Manager Gary King.
Late Monday night, Sullivan had not seen the letter from Adams or the associated material and declined comment.
Councilmember Marty McClain said he is not surprised MWH’s reaction, but he had not seen the material either.
He said the city is bound by contract to pay MWH’s administrative costs. He guessed any related documentation could be “in the thousands of pages.”
“We are at the discretion of what they say it’s going to cost,” McClain said.
Sullivan wants to pay for a construction audit and forensic audit for SW 1, SW 4 and SW 5, of the city’s utilities expansion project, and in particular he wants Kessler International to perform the forensic audit.
It’s unknown what the cost of the audits would be, but an opinion from the City Attorney’s office found that City Council can hire any firm without a Request for Proposal process.
Sullivan previously cited work done by MWH in Louisiana and California as a reason the company’s work in Cape Coral should be re-examined.
Adams wrote that MWH’s work in New Orleans and Los Osos was mischaracterized and that media reports related to that work were “later corrected due to factual inaccuracies or the lack of complete information.”
The New Orleans Office of the Inspector General released a report on MWH project management services “prematurely,” according to Adams, and was full of “misstatements and factual inaccuracies.”
Adams wrote that MWH continues to be a “key contractor” for the city of New Orleans, and that MWH acted within the terms of its contract, which was procured through a competitive process.
He said the city of New Orleans found “MWH had complied with its contractual obligations.”
Adams informed Sullivan that MWH would adhere to the terms of the current contract with the city of Cape Coral, and asked that Cape Coral do the same with any associated costs.