City records reveal concerns with construction company before being sued

A construction company has sued the City of Chattanooga, claiming a breach of contract for demolitions. (Image: WTVC)

UPDATE: (October 18th)

Emails between city staffers reveal a construction company suing the city of Chattanooga couldn't keep up to the expectations in their original contract.

"Can we assign some demolitions to Tower Construction, our backup demo contractor, on the basis that our primary, P&D, can't keep up?" Donna Casteel, Chief Code Enforcement Inspector wrote to Deidre Keylon in the city's Purchasing Department in November 2017.

Newschannel 9 poured through more than 180 pages of emails between city employees and P&D construction, received in an open records request. The emails show that Casteel's office repeatedly asked Kim Burton with P&D to have crews return to job sites to do more work before the city could mark the demo job complete. Casteel wrote that "there were bricks, chunks of concrete, etc. scattered across the property" that was supposed to be left in mowable condition.

The emails also reveal concern that P&D may have misrepresented their level of experience, amount of insurance, and size of their fleet. After a meeting to express concerns to P&D, Keylon wrote "P&D made a few statements in the meeting... that made me curious about their experience in demolitions as they represented it in their proposal." The lawsuit against the city by P&D continues.


NewsChannel 9 obtained a copy of a lawsuit filed against the City of Chattanooga back in March.

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It says P &D Construction had a 12-month blanket contract to supply demolition services for the Department of Economic & Community Development but says the contract was violated.

According to the lawsuit, “ The defendant did breach the contract and or blanket purchase order.... by allocating jobs to other contractors and not the Plaintiff.”

A memorandum by the City Auditor says Donna Casteel, Chief Code Enforcement Inspector, authorized Tower Construction, the back up demolition contractor, to “proceed with several demolition projects prior to determining whether P & D was ready, willing & able to perform.”

It then goes on to say Tower Construction performed most of the City's demolition work at a higher cost.

The City of Chattanooga says “As a result of the internal audit, the city is reviewing all procedures of the code enforcement department. Mrs. Casteel has been cooperative with attorneys in turning over all communication regarding the demolition contracts in question.”

Tower Construction company says it has done business with the city for years and doesn't know Casteel on a personal level, just through business.

You can see the full lawsuit below:

After the lawsuit was filed, an attorney with the city filed a motion to dismiss.

You can read that here:

This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn more.

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