A fifth lawsuit involving a Tar Creek relocation trust alleges that the trust failed to honor its contracts with two companies that performed demolition and cleanup work at the EPA Superfund site.
Vision Construction and Project Management Inc. and CWF Enterprises Inc. filed the lawsuit in Ottawa County District Court against the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust on May 27. The plaintiffs are seeking a judgment of $366,282.57, including $10,000 for lost profits and $5,000 for attorney fees.
The trust was formed after a 2006 Army Corps of Engineers study showed that the ground above abandoned lead and zinc mines under Picher and the nearby communities of Cardin and Hockerville had a high risk of caving in, prompting a $60 million federally funded buyout of property owners.
The area, called Tar Creek, is contaminated by mining waste and is an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site.
The lawsuit filing says Lloyd Stone received a contract in February to clean up or demolish 156 houses in the Tar Creek area. Stone's Backhoe, Dozer and Trucking Co. of Miami hired Vision Construction and CWF Enterprises to provide "various demolition and cleanup work for the trust," the petition states.
The trust suspended work on the project in April and in May told Vision and CWF Enterprises that no more work would be done, the petition states. The companies also allege in the lawsuit that they were not paid for work they performed work on 37 properties at a cost of $361,282.57.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a Rogers County decision in a different Tar Creek-related lawsuit.
Rogers County District Judge Dwayne Steidley ruled in May that the trust was wrong when it awarded a $2.1 million contract to Stone's company.
DT Specialized Services Inc. of Catoosa filed a civil lawsuit April 22 in Ottawa County District Court accusing the trust of violating both the Open Meeting Act and the Competitive Bidding Act. The lawsuit was reassigned to Steidley, who ruled that Stone's contract was void.
DT Specialized Services' bid was $558,988. Midwest Wrecking submitted a bid of $861,671; K&N Wrecking submitted a bid of $1,447,971; and Stone's Backhoe, Dozer and Trucking Co. submitted a bid of $2.1 million, according to the petition filed in that case.
Because Steidley ruled that the Open Meeting Act was violated, all the bids were voided and the trust was ordered to seek new bids for the project.
Other lawsuits: Two lawsuits were filed in Tulsa County District Court against Cinnabar Service Co. Inc., Van Tuyl & Associates, and some trust members, accusing them of undervaluing properties and of showing favoritism in the buyouts. The lawsuits also claim that both companies violated the state's Open Meeting Act.
One of the suits also alleges that many insurance companies deceived policyholders regarding their property damage claims after a May 10, 2008, tornado.
One lawsuit was moved to U.S. District Court in Tulsa, but Chief U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan ruled April 30 the case should be returned to state court, records show.
Another lawsuit in Ottawa County District Court against the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust was later dismissed. That dismissal is being appealed to the state Supreme Court, records show.