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Flint, MI– The court date for a contractor the city accused of working without proper permits has been delayed a month.
The City of Flint sent out a press release on March 27, announcing that the contractor, WT Stevens, previously hired for lead pipe replacement services, would be heading to court facing violations for allegedly putting leftover construction materials in a residential neighborhood.
A copy of the initial complaint shows that WT Stevens was cited by the State of Michigan for working without a Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC) permit, a civil infraction, on Nov. 20, 2020.
The original pretrial court date was set for March 29, but due to a change in 67th District Court Judge David Guinn’s schedule, the date has been moved to May 3rd.
The City has accused the company of placing leftover construction materials, or spoils, in a Flint neighborhood instead of properly disposing of them last year. The issue came up before the Flint City Council in August, when the city council granted a change order to Lang Constructors to continue service line replacement without going through the usual bidding process. The City stopped contracting with WT Stevens, and withheld payment.
According to the release from the City, the company “reportedly started to leave materials at the sites starting in 2018” and in November 2019, nearby residents complained of “large piles of spoils.”
At that time, Former Director of the Department of Public Works Rob Bincsik said the City would not be extending the contract for WT Stevens, or paying them, until their dumpsite was cleaned.
For some council members, this seemed like discrimination.
At a council meeting on Aug. 24, Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter said she drove by the site and it looked completely clean.
“They need to get their money, they need to get paid and they need to be involved in the bidding process,” Winfrey-Carter said. “We should not be holding contracts from our Black contractors.”
At that meeting, the council voted 5-4 to “do all things necessary to pay WT Stevens immediately or release the funds to WT Stevens” that have been withheld from them due to alleged illegal dumping on their part.
Mayor Sheldon Neeley vetoed that vote.
According to the press release, the City has worked with WT Stevens to make “significant improvements to the property, but more work still needs to be completed to be in compliance with the county and the state.”