Outstanding Balance of $53, 404.72 “not paid” for Emergency Repair of Water Main Break
GS Construction was contacted by DeKalb County to perform emergency work at the corner of Henderson Mill and Evans Road after a vehicle hit a fire hydrant on a 48 inch main. The accident caused the citizens of DeKalb to endure three full days of low water pressure and eventually a boil water advisory.
We are grateful that GS Construction, a private company, stepped to the frontline to help restore our water system and repair the water main that created a countywide crisis. We are sure that the taxpayers and voters would be upset to learn that we have not paid for the emergency services that corrected our water main crisis that caused the entire county to boil its water.
We received assistance from GS Construction in writing an After Action Report on the water main break of July 2015. We have also monitored the actions of GS Construction regarding retaliation after they assisted law enforcement in exposing an overbilling and kickback scheme that sent two DeKalb County employees to jail. We continue to be concerned with the large number of problems this company has experienced with payments after it completes its services.
We request ICEO Lee May and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners to investigate and explain the reason our county continues to owe $53, 404.72 to GS Construction, especially after the excellent service they performed in restoring water to our county.
Further, we request that you immediately pay the amount owed to GS Construction.
View CBS46.com, Contractor says he wasn’t paid for work by DeKalb County…http://www.cbs46.com/story/30542640/contractor-says-he-wasnt-paid-for-work-by-dekalb-county?autostart=true
DEKALB WATER MAIN BREAK: AN AFTER ACTION REPORT
BY VIOLA DAVIS
DeKalb residents and businesses learned the hard way with the recent water main break and boil water advisory the reason our county must finance infrastructure upgrades. However, the general public needs to understand in laymen’s term how small errors in the recent water main break created a countywide crisis.
We met with the owner of GS Construction, Alessandro Salvo, in February 2015 concerning an issue and conflict with specification W-019 on covering the water main after repair with Watershed and Capital Improvement Project (CIP) administrators.
Salvo started warning DeKalb early in the year of potential problems with the installation of water mains using #57 stone as bedding and backfill. However, the warnings were met with acts of retaliation such as multiple inspections, slow payment, bad references and mischaracterization of the private business to another county, etc.
We wrote a report on the specifications on water main installation and requested a meeting to avoid legal actions, harm to the public and poor media exposure. The report was addressed to ICEO Lee May and Executive Administrator Zachary Williams. We are writing this article in an attempt to explain, in layman terms, the past errors and warnings the general public must know about the water main break to prevent future water main breaks that create countywide crisis to include:
1. What set up the crisis? The following factors are alleged:
a. The biggest factor is the status of the water system itself.
b. There are 5 large mains leaving the Scott Candler Treatment plant.
c. The 5 large mains are as follows:
1. 30” Tilly Mill >Peachtree Corner>Claremont
2. 30” Tilly Mill>under old GM plant>N. Peachtree
3. 54” P’tree industrial to Winters Chapel
4. 48” P’tree industrial>Winters Chapel >Chamblee Tucker>Mercer Univ.
5. 48” Oakdale>N. Crest >Chamblee Tucker>Henderson Mill>Northlake
d. Only 1 of these 5 mains is functioning properly, #4. Number 4 is the main (water main) that caused the crisis last month.
e. The problems with the 4 water mains, 1, 2, 3 and 5, are as follows:
1. #1 has valves turned off and all indications are that the County does not know which valves, nor where they are.
2. #2 has been shut down for some time due to a slip lining failure. It’s the famous line that had a lane of I-85 shut down for months last year.
3. #3 has valves turned off and all indications are that the County does not know which valves nor where they are.
4. #5 has valves turned off and all indications are that the County does not know which valves nor where they are.
f. The proof that there are multiple valves shut off is the fact that the entire County lost water when #4 water main was depressurized.
g. If the system was functioning properly we should have been able to isolate the section at Henderson Mill and Evans for repair while the other mains rerouted the water to the rest of the County.
2. What is the County doing to address this issue? Time to ask questions and demand results.
3. What amplified July’s hydrant hit into a countywide crises? It is alleged:
a. County crews lacked experience working with these particularly difficult conditions.
b. County crews were sent out with inadequate equipment.
1. No shoring equipment;
2. Excavator was too small to reach down to the shutoff valve;
3. County supplied pumps failed. More than 10 pumps were brought to the site including 2 $70,000 8” Thompson pumps. 7 of the 10 pumps were useless, including the 8” pumps.
4. Bureaucratic decision to re-pressurize the main before the valve could be reached, causing considerably more damage than was necessary.
4. Warning: poor water main maintenance, lack of industry knowledge, poor working equipment and poor leadership will make water main repair problems more frequent and the “norm” instead of the exception. It is alleged:
a. We are one errant tunnel bore, one excavator bucket away from an even larger crisis. If a contractor who is drilling/boring or a contractor excavating strikes the 48” main then that will be the beginning of another huge crisis. We will be without running water for God knows how long while it is repaired.
b. If the only fully functioning transmission main #4 is actually struck, the County will be without water for days while it is repaired.
c. In addition, during the repair, the entire County water system will be completely drained.
d. This will cause an even bigger health crisis than the last time.
e. Many portions of the line will have to be sanitized before they will be safe, costing taxpayers’ huge amounts of money.
f. Re-pressurizing of the entire system will cause multiple line breaks that will need to be repaired at great expense.
5. Having thousands of residents and businesses in DeKalb County sitting in this dangerous situation while the County plays political games and favorites with the Watershed department is irresponsible.
6. We immediately need proper leadership at Watershed Management.
7. It is alleged that the last experienced man left at Watershed is XXXX XXXXX. He will be retiring in December. He is the most qualified man for the position based on his experience level with the County water system. Every effort should be made to retain his services.
909 Rays Road
Stone Mountain, Ga. 30083
March 17, 2014
DeKalb County Board of Ethics
Clark Harrison Building
330 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue
Decatur, Georgia 30030
Dear DeKalb County Board of Ethics:
I, Viola Davis with Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter, submit this ethics complaint to restore public trust against Kelvin Walton, Director and Chief Procurement Officer of the Department of Purchasing and Contracting and Nina Hall, Former Assistant to CEO Burrell Ellis, and currently Project Manager with Watershed Department. I presented evidence during an executive meeting of Restore DeKalb on Friday, March 14, 2014 which included the complaints of two vendors, one complaint by a disabled veteran, and a federal complaint filed September of 2013 to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.
I have received the full support of Restore DeKalb to submit a Restore Public Trust Ethics Complaint against Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall concerning the public corruption case related to purchasing and contracts within the Watershed Department. We agreed that the following actions need to be address to restore public trust in DeKalb County to include:
A. Demand Kelvin Walton and Nina Hall be reassigned to other departments until a full criminal investigation and forensic audit of the Watershed Department is completed.
B. Demand a forensic audit of the Watershed Department due to a long history of complaints of criminal activity and systematic charges of thievery.
C. Demand the GBI lead the investigation as an external neutral third party due to the fact that two-three independent Constitutional officers have made serious accusations against one another to include:
a. CEO Burrell Ellis charges against DA Robert James and Interim CEO Lee May
b. District Attorney Robert James charges under the RICO statue.
c. Interim CEO Lee May’s statement of a need for additional evidence before removing Kelvin Walton from the Purchasing and Contract Compliance Department.
D. Demand a federal investigation into DeKalb County’s Purchasing and Contracting and Contract Compliance departments and prosecution of people who are found to violate the local, state, and federal laws.
If we are to restore public trust, we request that the DeKalb County Ethics Board examine the following evidence submitted and submit an opinion and/or board action to the necessary elected officials and department heads (local and state level) to complete this Restore Public Trust Ethics Complaint:
1. Vendor 1 – Hopie Strickland with Strickland and Sons Construction
a. Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter filed a federal complaint with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, September 2013 concerning a complaint by Hopie Strickland of bid rigging, kickbacks, and false documentation, etc. (See Documentation below)
b. Video titled, “DeKalb Corruption against LSBE Vendors” featuring Hopie Strickland.
2. Vendor 2 – Alessandro Salvo with GS Construction
a. Link to WSBTV story on Alessandro Salvo complaint
b. Link to Video of FBI investigation of Watershed Extortion case (Documentation provided on request of Ethics Board)
3. Private Citizen – Disabled Veteran complaint concerning tree removal demonstrates systematic problems and/or corruption that unfairly targets private citizens and lack of executive oversight.
4. DeKalb County Special Purpose Grand Jury Report 2012-2013 … Civil Case #12CV1000.
In the name of transparency, ethics, and accountability, we submit this ethics complaint to restore public trust.