The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 23, 2013

Joplin School District pays to settle lawsuit filed by contractor

JOPLIN, Mo. — A $2.2 million lawsuit filed by a demolition company against the Joplin School District over the bills for clearing tornado debris has been settled for $276,000.

U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner has issued an order dismissing the lawsuit of Urban Metropolitan Development LLC from U.S. District Court in Kansas City. The order states that the lawsuit’s claims were settled.

“Joplin Schools paid $276,000 in exchange for a full release and dismissal of UMD’s lawsuit, which included claims alleging both breach of contract and civil rights violations,” said Doug Harpool, the Springfield attorney who represents Urban Metropolitan, in an email response to Globe questions about the settlement. “Some of the settlement money went to workers to bring their wages to the level the state claimed was required by Missouri’s prevailing wage law. Some went to a bonding company for UMD, some went directly to UMD and some went to my firm for attorney fees.”

School Superintendent C.J. Huff referred questions about the terms of the settlement to the district’s attorney, John Nicholas. He did not return calls asking for the information.

The school board voted a year ago to fire Urban Metropolitan, which had won a contract to demolish and clear the debris from Joplin High School, Irving Elementary School and the old South Middle School. The company was to be paid $155,322 to clean the high school site, $129,260 for Irving and $134,230 for the middle school. The next highest bid for the work was $400,000 more than Urban Metro’s bid.

The contract called for payments to be made for the demolition work in installments every other month. After the school district terminated the contract, the contractor filed the lawsuit alleging that the school district had missed making progress payments.

In the lawsuit, the contractor alleged that after it had cleared some of the high school wreckage, it found standing water up to 21 feet deep in a tunnel under the school building. Company officials said they informed school officials about the standing water and received an order from the school district to remove the water. Urban Metro billed for the work, which the company contended was not covered by the contract. The bill was $544,000.

The lawsuit later was amended to include claims that the school district violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act by discriminating against Urban Metro because the company is minority-owned. The lawsuit did not detail how that discrimination was alleged to have taken place.

There also was a claim that about $1.5 million worth of materials that could have been salvaged from the debris and sold to help the contractor recoup its costs had already been removed. It also was alleged that the school district’s payment was not enough to cover state-mandated prevailing wages for workers

In December, state charges alleging forgery were filed against the company and its project manager, Jennifer Taylor. The charges allege failure to pay prevailing wage. A probable-cause statement issued in those charges identified 20 employees who were said to have been underpaid.

Jasper County Prosecutor Dean Dankelson said Tuesday that the settlement of the lawsuit will not affect the criminal charges. A probable-cause hearing is set for May 23 in the Associate Division of Jasper County Circuit Court.


URBAN METROPOLITAN Development LLC is based in Atlanta, Ga.

Text Only
Local News
  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: It’s not Mayberry, but Carthage is close

    When I was a kid, I wanted to live in Mayberry. In a way, I suppose I still want to live in Mayberry, the fictional town featured in the classic Andy Griffith show of the 1960s.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Missouri attorney general defends his support of Amendment 1

    With a large cornfield behind him and campaign signs all around, Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster appeared Wednesday at the David Collard farm to tout Amendment 1, an Aug. 5 ballot measure that would make the “right to farm” part of the state constitution.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Jasper County Commission reviews traffic plans

    The Jasper County Commission will hold public hearings today and Thursday on a number of traffic changes proposed in the county. No one spoke when the first hearing was held Tuesday as part of the regular commission meeting, according to Jim Honey, Eastern District associate commissioner.

    July 22, 2014

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Parents can get help with school supplies

    I don’t know much about demographics other than the fact that I no longer belong to a “targeted demographic.” When I was younger, I was bombarded by commercials and ads from companies that were trying to sell me things that I not only needed but wanted.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

Must Read


Have you ever served as a volunteer for your state's conservation department?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter