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January 2, 2013

Judge rules against Willow Park

By CHRISTIN COYNE

A North Richland Hills company suing the City of Willow Park for breach of contract regarding nearly $200,000 in unpaid engineering and consulting fees was handed a victory last week when 43rd District Judge Trey Loftin handed down a summary judgement in the business’ favor.

The ruling awarded the company nearly $190,000 plus annual interest, attorney fees and court costs.

A Willow Park city official said there will be an appeal. Also, a pending counterclaim filed by the city earlier this month against the E.S. & C.M. Inc. remains before the court.

The company claims the city owes them about $190,000 for the first phase of engineering work completed under a contract signed by city officials in January 2008 regarding a then-planned regional sewage treatment plant, a multi-million dollar project that planned to use Texas Water Development Board monies.

When the TWDB in 2008 declined to fund the project months later over pending lawsuits involving the city, the city declined to pay E.S. & C.M. for the majority of the approximately $280,000 amount of work already completed, according to court filings.

The judgment noted that the court “finds that there is no genuine issue about any material fact,” and that E.S. & C.M. was entitled to $190,000, plus 6 percent pre- and post-judgement interest, as well as attorneys fees and court costs.

The city lost their chance at project funding due to their own actions and, under the terms of contract signed by the city, owe the company for all the work completed during the first phase of the project, according to E.S. & C.M.

The company claims former mayor Marvin Glasgow submitted a falsified sworn statement during the application process saying the city was not involved in any lawsuits. However, Willow Park at the time was in the middle of litigation that included the highly publicized lawsuit involving the Deer Creek water system.

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