County anticipates lawsuit over mowing

Friday, February 19, 2010

The dispute between Marshall County commissioners and the lawn service they hired last summer, and fired last month, is likely to end up in court, according to remarks made at a buildings and maintenance committee meeting this week.

"The attorney advises we do not owe him any more money," said committee chairman Mickey King.

Curt Denton, of Denton Lawncare, has presented a bill for $2,111.20 to the commission, saying he is going to court if it is not paid.

Denton was the apparent best bidder for the contract to mow the lawns at various county buildings. His bid - $7,600 per year, for three years - was to be paid in equal monthly installments. Acceptance was conditional. he had to get workers' compensation insurance for his employees. The contract started in August, but Denton's checks were withheld for three months, waiting on proof of insurance. Then in October, when the commission was on the verge of terminating the contract because Denton didn't provide proof of insurance, he showed Freda Terry's budget office proof of his application for the insurance, and got paid. He was also paid for November and December.

"We overpaid him by two months," Commissioner Jimmy Stitt said.

Denton was supposed to have workers' compensation insurance by Nov. 1, but he didn't, and that invalidated his contract, according to members of the budget committee.

"He could have worked it out," said King. They found out in January that Denton Lawncare had been denied workers' comp insurance, and that was when County Attorney Ginger Shofner notified him that the contract had been terminated because one of the conditions had not been met.

"It's going to court - we know that," Stitt said.

"We voided the contract, and the attorney agreed," said Terry. "He's saying we breached it."

"If he's going to a lawsuit against us, our lawsuit in return would be for all our expenses," Commissioner Jimmy Wolaver said, indicating the county should be prepared to counter sue and the committee unanimously agreed.