Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Border fence contractor faces $8.7M lawsuit

The Zonie Report
April 11, 2009
by Adam Klawonn

NEAR LUKEVILLE — A local convenience store owner is suing the company hired by the U.S. government to build Arizona’s portion of the border fence, claiming it owes the store money for overdue storage and water use fees in connection with the project.

The lawsuit in Pima County Superior Court comes from Gringo Pass Inc., whose convenience store is the last stop before crossing from Arizona into Mexico at the Lukeville port-of-entry.

According to the complaint, a lawyer for Gringo Pass claims the company entered into a verbal agreement with Kiewit Southwest Co. that would allow the company to park its vehicles and equipment

on the convenience store’s property during the construction project. That project called for building a 5.2-mile fence through the region for $21.3 million, according to press reports.

In July 2008, the fence swamped the border and local businesses. Officials for Organ Pipe National Monument released a 17-page report that claimed the fence had design flaws that turned it into a man-made dam while monsoon storms swept through, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Star.

In its complaint, Gringo Pass blames the project for causing $6 million in damages to its property. As a result, the company is asking Pima County Superior Court Judge John Davis for a $6 million award.

It also claims Kiewit did not pay about four months worth of rent for space and more than 4 million gallons of water. The company is asking the judge to award it more than $2.7 million in connection with those fees, plus 10 percent interest per year.

Tucson lawyers Joel L. Herz and Russell B. Stowers are representing Gringo Pass. To download a copy of the complaint, click here.


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