Polk sues White Oak developers for $135k

Published 7:33 pm Monday, July 12, 2010

After giving the development another month to pay, Polk County has filed suit against White Oak Development Partners, LLC to collect more than $135,000 owed for a county water line.

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson filed the lawsuit last Wednesday in Polk County Civil Superior Court.

White Oak still owes the county $135,752.50 for a water line the county constructed to the proposed development last year. The lawsuit says that on Nov. 3, 2008, White Oak entered into a contract for the county to provide potable water to the development for a cost of $423,515. The contract was later amended, with the project coming in under bid at a total of $359,505. White Oak put half of the total in escrow with the remainder agreed to be paid by Aug. 31, 2009.

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As of July 3, 2010, White Oak has not paid the amount due of $135,752.50, states the county in the lawsuit. That plaintiff made demand for payment of the funds due and owing, but defendant has failed to pay anything.

The county is claiming breach of contract, asking that the amount owed be paid plus eight percent interest from the date of the breach of the contract.

The county sent a letter to White Oak on Jan. 13, 2010 through county attorney Tom Hix saying, The Polk County Board of Commissioners has instructed me to communicate to you that you have ten (10) working days to pay the amount of $169,752.50 to fulfill your contract obligation for the water line, which is due and owing.

Following that letter, White Oak asked the county to set up a payment plan. The county originally denied that request but later agreed for White Oak to pay the county $34,000 per month for five months, with the payments ending in June.

White Oak paid the first installment, but the county has received no further payments. Polk decided last month to file a lawsuit and gave White Oak another month before officially filing the suit in court after not receiving any more money.

White Oak developer Justin Kinsella said last month that the developers understand the countys position and White Oak is working to resolve the matter soon. The developers said earlier in the year that the economy has caused difficulties with the project, but that they are still committed to the development, having invested $30 million of their own resources for the development.

Polk paid for the water line extension out of its fund balance, with the construction being completed last fall. The extension comes off the countys main water line that runs through Polk County connecting the Broad River Water Authority to the Inman Campobello Water District. White Oaks water line is an approximately two-mile extension that runs from the Hwy. 14 and Hwy. 9 crossroad, down Sandy Plains Road to the development.