2008-03-01 / Editorials & Letters

'Watchdog' sniffs out name change

Editor:

Over the past several months, Warren Weber (Community Development Manager at the Licking County Planning Commission and Bennie Evans' boss) has been playing a game of hide the construction company with me.

If you recall, current Kirkersville Council member Evans' son-in-law, Steve Piatt, was doing county rehab jobs through a construction company that was formerly owned by Bennie (Jim) Evans (also Licking County rehab inspector) and currently owned by Evans' daughter. On one of his rehab jobs, a handicapped woman fell and broke a bone. She said her fall was caused by Piatt's poor workmanship. This job had been inspected and approved by Evans, but the county had to have some of the work redone. The TAXPAYERS paid almost $4,000 for the extra work!

Last June, I received a list of contractors used by the county rehab program and noticed that Piatt's company, All Construction, was no longer on the list. Mr. Weber led me to believe that Piatt was no longer working on county rehab jobs. He wouldn't give a reason but said "they had come to a mutual agreement."

A couple of months later, I was told that Piatt was still doing county rehab jobs and when I asked Mr. Weber if this was true, he said it was. I asked why his name wasn't on the program's contractors list and he told me that I must have an old list! Why would they give me an OLD list?! Was it a list created especially for me and is there a REAL list floating around somewhere?

To sort out the facts from the fiction, I asked for the public records listing the rehab contractors that have done the last 24 jobs for the program. According to this list, All Construction received $14,382.50 in 2007, but it was for two jobs let in 2006.

I phoned Mr. Weber and told him that Piatt's jobs for 2007 weren't on this list. After some prodding, Weber finally told me that Piatt had started a new company - Warrior Construction, Inc.! Sure enough, there it was! Piatt's new business is on the list and had did two jobs in 2007 for $27,100!!!! And, undoubtedly, these jobs were inspected ONCE AGAIN by his father-inlaw, Benny Evans. A handful of GOB's (good ole boys) could easily HURT a program that is intended to HELP people!

I hope our County Commissioners read this letter and prepare an answer for my question - How can they justify this behavior? will be printing their responses in my next letter! Bonnie Mansfield Buckeye Lake

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