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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Status hearing to be scheduled for Jim Thorpe Stadium

  • In spite of claims from the defendant that they have not been contacted, an attorney for Shawnee Public Schools maintains that negotiations regarding the Jim Thorpe Stadium lawsuit are ongoing.
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  • In spite of claims from the defendant that they have not been contacted, an attorney for Shawnee Public Schools maintains that negotiations regarding the Jim Thorpe Stadium lawsuit are ongoing.
     
    “We are actively negotiating,” Joe Vorndran, attorney, said.
     
    However, Robert Magrini, attorney for American Safety Casualty Insurance Company (ASI), said in his objection contained in a recent filing in the case that his client had had no contact from Shawnee Public Schools in nearly a year.
     
    Because of this, Magrini requested the case dismissed, according to court records. However, the summons was issued, and a court date for a status conference is being scheduled.
     
    Superintendent Marc Moore declined to comment as to whether or not ASI had been contacted or whether or not negotiations were ongoing.
     
    “The negotiations with ASI have been confidential and must remain confidential,” Moore said.
     
    The lawsuit, filed in February of 2012, which originates from a dispute 2010, involves the unfinished Jim Thorpe Stadium. The school board had entered into a contract with Homeland General Contractors for construction of a new track facility.
     
    As reported previously, issues reportedly began to appear with the proposed running track in August 2010. After a failed roll test of recently poured sub-base and asphalt, a subcontractor for Homeland General Contractors refused to work any more on the track, given irregularities and other issues in the track. The sub-contractor further refused to give a warranty to any work they did to the track, due to the cracks and other issues.
     
    The school board then requested Homeland General Contractors cease work on the track until the cause of the issues could be determined. Further investigation showed the asphalt was cracking due to subgrade fill and irregularities in the elevation of the track.
     
    The school board entered into negotiations with Homeland General Contactors, however the two parties could not come to an agreement, and in April 2011, the school board told the contractors they were considering declaring them default in their bond.
     
    For a short period after this, Homeland General Contractors – through their subcontractors – began trying to repair the track. However, more issues were discovered and in August 2011, the school board declared the contractors in default.
     
    American Safety Casualty Insurance Company (ASI), which insured the bond, began negotiations with the school board. However an agreement still couldn’t be reached. As a result, the school board filed a lawsuit for breach of contract in February 2012.
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    Negotiations continued, Vorndran said, adding that the school board hoped for – and continues to hope for – a negotiated solution instead of a trial.
     
    Several executive sessions appeared on school board agendas between February 2012 and today, however none of the executive sessions included an action item – meaning the school board discussed the case with their counsel without taking any votes or action.
     
    Vorndran explained the school board was usually getting updates from him regarding the negotiations, but declined to go into any specifics regarding the executive sessions.
     
    The school board filed a summons in preparation for a trial in May 2013. It was after that Magrini filed his objection, claiming this client hadn’t been contacted in nearly a year. He requested the case be dismissed.
     
    At this point, a status conference is being scheduled and the case has not been dismissed. The conference has not been scheduled as of presstime.
     
    Vorndran added that negotiations are continuing.
     
    “It doesn’t have to go to trial, we are open to a settlement,” he said. “We are looking for a permanent fix for the track.”
     
    Vorndran said he could not comment as to why the school board had not settled the lawsuit. He said the school board had the final decision in the form of a vote regarding any sort of settlement.
     
    School board president Larry Walker was unavailable for comment Monday.
     
    Magrini did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
     

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