Polk gets $15k from White Oak, gives developers 120 more days to answer lawsuit

Published 1:23 pm Friday, September 24, 2010

Polk County has given White Oak Development Partners, LLC an additional 120 days to answer a lawsuit the county filed against the developers, who have not completed payments for a water line.

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson told commissioners Monday that White Oak was given the additional time and in return made another payment of $15,000.

White Oak failed to answer the suit by the most recent deadline of Sept. 8, but now has until sometime in January 2011 to respond to the suit.

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Polk County sued the development in July following failure to receive the remaining $135,752.50 in payments for a water line extension.

The county decided in June to file the lawsuit against White Oak but waited another month to see if the developers would make additional payments. After receiving none, the county filed the suit in Polk County Civil Superior Court.

The suit is over White Oaks failure to complete paying the county a total of $359,505, which the developers had agreed to pay the county for constructing an approximately two-mile water line extension to the subdivision. The extension was completed last fall.

The county is claiming breach of contract, with damages set at the amount owed. The county is asking that the money owed be paid with 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.

Previously, White Oak had paid the county the first half of the balance.

Following Hixs letter, White Oak asked the county to set up a payment plan, which the county originally decided not to do. The county later agreed for White Oak to pay the county $34,000 per month for five months, with the payments ending in June, 2010. White Oak paid the first installment, but the county had received no further payments until the recent $15,000.

White Oak developer Justin Kinsella said this summer that developers understand the countys position and White Oak is working to resolve the matter soon.&bsp; 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.

Polk County paid for the water line extension out of its fund balance. 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 runs from the Hwy. 14 and Hwy. 9 crossroad, down Sandy Plains Road to the development.

With the additional $15,000 payment made recently, White Oak now owes Polk County approximately $120,752.