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Blackbird President Breaks Silence, Places Blame on Contractor

By Ellis Codjoe, May 16, 2019

In Ottumwa’s north side, the former St. Joseph Hospital enters its tenth month of inaction while the private dispute between Blackbird Investments and Elder Corporation turns public.

Blackbird president Justin Doyle issued a statement Wednesday morning debunking recent media reports and shedding some light in regards to their spat with demolition contractor Elder.

“The basis of the dispute stems from billing discrepancies and the contractor’s false claim that the contract is 90 percent complete.  An independent expert, engaged as a part of the arbitration process, has provided an assessment finding 16 percent of the demolition work to be complete. The sharp difference in the work completed and the work billed has been and continues to be, the sticking point that has delayed forward progress.

“To date, we have paid the contractor $1.37 million dollars for work completed. The bottom line for our project in Ottumwa is that we are unwilling to pay for work that has not been completed. When possible, we will resume demolition before the arbitration process is complete, which does not preclude the pursuit of additional legal remedies.”

Elder claims Blackbird owes them $1.5 million from unpaid work. The disagreement is currently under arbitration. Drish Construction, based in Fairfield, was hired by Blackbird to finish the demolition. There has been no timetable mentioned for when work will resume at the site.

Elder officials were not available for comment as of the time of publication.

 

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