UPDATE: Siding Settlement Decision; How did we get here?

While I would love to be chugging vodka tonics right now until I forget my name, I’m afraid the celebration won’t be for awhile. I don’t expect to see the secret settlement anytime soon. The city has many options. At the earliest they could delay this for 90 days while considering an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court (I don’t think they would go that far). They could also ask for a reconsideration from the SD Supreme Court, which could take several months. I’m also sure there is a whole other bag of tricks they could pull out. Unfortunately they are using our tax dollars to keep secrets about our tax dollars secret.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone, as we all know, the Mayor’s administration is anti-transparency, and it has been getting worse. The majority of the city council is no longer let in on RFP and BID negotiations, not even in executive session. Many are asking how are they supposed to vote on projects like Tuesday’s UPTOWN II when have no idea what the other proposals were.

UPDATE: Theresa said it best on Stormland TV last night;

Stehly hopes this decision leads to more transparency in local government in the future.

“It’s problematic when we have the media being left out, the citizens being left out, and the city council being left out. Who’s running the show?”

Would you like me to answer that question? Probably NOT. Props to Mallory and his videographer  for the great camera work on the story and all the close ups of the siding. I think when people look at the siding at a distance, they really don’t comprehend how bad it is until you get up close and see all the gaps, holes and rust stains.

So how did we get here?

Bruce Danielson (South DaCola’s cameraman) actually mentioned to me that he was concerned about how they were installing the siding around the curved part of the Denty. He was concerned about the Tyvek application and wondered also why they were installing the siding from the top going downward. I went out and looked at it to, and it seemed strange. As some time went by after the installation, we both got a closer look and were not impressed with the bulging and ripples. At that point we were just asking question amongst ourselves, independent engineers and construction folks.

Than councilor Rex Rolfing opened his big fat mouth.

One afternoon I was watching the city council meeting informational and during open discussion Rex Rolfing said that constituents (his golf buddies) had been mentioning to him they were concerned about the dented appearance of the siding.

I quickly asked Danielson if he heard what Rex had said, and at that point we knew we had to go forward with taking a closer look.

At first SF media ignored us, including the Argus Leader. There was so much anticipation at that point for the grand opening, no one wanted to rock the boat. Luckily we had councilor Staggers on the council at the time to ask more questions of staff.

Once the media got more involved and you could tell just by looking at the siding itself, something wasn’t right. The city started to pay attention and put several different plans in place which resulted in many empty promises and ultimately the secret settlement. I’m glad the AL is owned by a multi-billion dollar corporation that can afford to take these cases to court. The public would have been screwed without the lawsuit. I would also like to thank Ellis, Albrecht, Lalley, Hult and Sneve for listening to us. My poor little blog could not have done this on it’s own, though Bruce and I had several lonely nights trying to convince people this deal stunk.

What is most likely in the contract?

I have worked out several scenarios in my head, I’m not going to list them all, they would just baffle you even more. My best educated guess is that there never really was a settlement except on paper. We think there was $1 million left over in constingency funds (We borrowed that money with the EC construction bond). My guess is that instead of the money going to Mortenson as a bonus at the end, Mortenson just let the city keep it. And since this was money that was already borrowed, the city couldn’t just give the million back to the bonds as a early principal payment. In other words, Mortenson let us keep a million of our own money.

So why do I think this is the most likely scenario? Because many of the people listed in the settlement had little to nothing to do with the installation of the siding on the curved portion of the Denty. This has been verified to me by several people. Why would anyone pay a (cash) settlement out for a job they didn’t botch? So why were they listed on the settlement than? As I understand it, because they AGREED to NOT do the work. I know, sounds just as bizarre as Bruce being incarcerated for 6 hours on a penny bond over a stack of shingles in his backyard, the same night he was set to do a major public input presentation on the EC siding.

Of course, this is all pure speculation, because up until this point, the settlement is still secret, and I guarantee the Mayor will fight tooth and nail to keep it that way. No worries, I’ll keep my vodka bottle(s) on ice.


#1 anonymous on 09.21.17 at 8:59 pm

The AL is fortunate to have Jon Arneson as their attorney.

#2 l3wis on 09.21.17 at 10:07 pm

I would agree 100%

#3 Emoluments Clause on 09.22.17 at 10:46 am

Arneson use to work for the Argus, didn’t he? So this case was right up his alley….

I also see, that Menards has a sale on siding this week…. Just in time…. 😉

#4 guest on 09.22.17 at 1:42 pm

E.C. but what happens with that Menards sale is the city pays full price on the siding and then the 11% rebate goes to some developer who doesn’t need it 🙂

#5 Emoluments Clause on 09.24.17 at 9:54 am

“Follow the rebate…..”

Leave a Comment