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Date of Issue: June 04, 2008

Jilted contractor seeks $235K from Anna Maria

Adkins Contracting Inc. was already signed to be Anna Maria's lead contractor for Phase I of a $539,000 stormwater drainage project that was slated to begin earlier this year.

Alas, the city failed to obtain the required Southwest Florida Water Management District permit and the project was faced with a delay. City engineer Tom Wilcox asked Adkins if they could wait a few months until the city obtained the necessary permit.

But Adkins isn’t buying any delay and owner Jackie Dean Adkins could easily be harking to the words of English writer William Congreve, who wrote “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” in his 1723 play, The Morning Bride.

Indeed. Last week, Adkins sent the city a "request for reimbursement" notice for $235,302, a sum that represents about 45 percent of the original contract.

Apparently, it's expensive to do business at Adkins. The company charged the city $37.50 per letter for opening various letters it received from the city and the same amount for “review of e-mail.” Picking up the telephone is hard work at Adkins, and costs $22.50 per pickup, according to the bill.

Replying to an e-mail was apparently less strenuous, as Adkins only charged $15 to return an e-mail response. To “review” letters, Adkins is asking the city for $75 per letter in many cases, while some “reviews” are $300, according to Adkins notice.

Adkins is also charging the city $600 for a staff member to do a “walking tour” of the site. That is apparently a bargain to the city, according to the claim. Adkins only charged the city $440, $160 and $160 respectively for each of the other of its three staff members on the same tour. And the tour was done twice for the same fee.

One $300 charge in the bill was a “delivery fee” of documents.

The company billed the city $75 each for various faxes it sent. It also charged the city $600 for a pre-construction conference, and for five staff members to gather information for the conference cost to the city was $660, $440, $160, $160 and $160 respectively for each employee.

Adkins billed $48,900 for its cost in the delay in the start of construction, and $98,200 it alleges it lost when it took the city's job over one from Clark Hunt Construction.

Additionally, Adkins claimed that because the Anna Maria alleys are "small to work in," it had to buy two CAT mini-excavators, one for $24,400 and the other for $23,400. Both items were purchased before the job began, Adkins said.

However, Adkins allowed that it would sell the two excavators at the next auction "to cover costs," and billed the city $600 for a staff member to do four hours of work in buying the equipment.

Mayor Fran Barford said the Adkins document is "under review and advisement with our engineer, staff and attorney,” but she characterized Adkins’ bill as “absurd.”

The delay in receiving the Swiftmud permit for the project is even more costly than the $235,000 Adkins claims it is owed.

The city has already paid Wilcox and HDR Engineering about $71,000 this fiscal year for his work on the stormwater drainage project, with another $29,000 paid during 2007-08 for engineering services not associated with the drainage effort.

Now, the city is going to have Wilcox revise the design for Phase I of its stormwater drainage plan because Swiftmud declined to approve the first effort as it lacked some models of stormwater runoff flow.