Carson City looks for new pool contractor

Carson City has halted work at the Carson City Aquatic Facility by contractor American General Development and is seeking a new contractor to finish work at the facility.

The city is mum on discussions regarding the ongoing problems with the $3.8 million project.

Deputy District Attorney Neil Rombardo said he couldn't comment on the city's stance in the negotiations because of legal issues.

"We are in the middle of negotiating with AGD," Rombardo said. "Their work has been discontinued at the pool. We are in the middle of contracting with other contractors for the pool. Upon the completion of their work, we hope the problems will be fixed. We're working diligently to get the pool completed."

Rombardo did say hiring an extra contractor shouldn't cost the city an extra money.

While city officials aren't talking right now, Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens said the city continues to withhold about $373,000 from AGD because the city hasn't received some necessary documents and "we don't think the project is complete yet."

In a July 20 letter to AGD attorney Michael Hoy, Rombardo gave notice that the contract with AGD would be completed by July 28 or the city would take over completion of the project, paid with the retention money owed to AGD.

"The city is still considering its options with regards to liquidated damages and other legal claims," Rombardo wrote.

John Sieben, owner of American General, was unavailable for comment Tuesday. Hoy said he is investigating potential charges against the city of extortion, racketeering, civil rights violations and defamation.

"I think that this case has gone beyond a contractual dispute," Hoy said. "The mere fact that the city is withholding $400,000 smacks of bad faith. The city is holding onto the money trying to leverage it against other repairs. They're trying to get AGD to do things by withholding payment."

Hoy claimed that the pool was built according to the designs and specifications given to AGD.

"The project has been fraught with problems from the inception. Any time AGD said, 'The plans don't make any sense,' or, 'This part of the plan is ambiguous,' they get stonewalled. I know Mr. Sieben has a reputation for being tough to get along with. But every time he tries to get something done, he get's stiff-armed."

Previously, Kastens cited problems with the construction of the new 86-foot water slide, indoor therapy pool and air ducts in the indoor pool.

Documents from slide manufacturer ProSlide indicate the slide will have to be taken apart and reassembled.

The Aquatic Facility, the first large Quality of Life initiative project, was supposed to be completely done in September 1999. Delays mostly due to bad weather pushed the completion of the first phase of the project into November and pushed the $3.6 million price tag up by $160,000.

Phase II was expected to be finished by Jan. 31 and then the first part of February. After more weather and construction delays, the date moved to March 31. City officials claim the work still isn't done.

A mediator was brought in to try to help the city and AGD work through their dispute, but that didn't work either.

Phase I of construction at the facility included enclosing the 50-meter pool, work on outside heating and air conditioning and the reconfiguration of the dressing rooms. Phase I of the project went beyond its original deadline by 128 days and was finished in late October 1999.

Phase II included the demolition of the building surrounding the old indoor pool, construction of a therapy pool and building around the pool, a slide for the 25-yard pool and reconstruction of the facility's mechanical room.


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