Baltimore County Digest

Baltimore County Digest

April 27, 2006

County seeks OK to pay firm to testify in jail suit

Baltimore County government is seeking County Council approval to pay an architecture firm up to $150,000 to testify in the county's lawsuit against three firms associated with the new jail in Towson.

County Attorney John E. Beverungen told council members this week that the money would go to Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates of Pennsylvania to provide analysis and testimony in a lawsuit filed in January in Baltimore County Circuit Court. The council is to approve or deny the expenditure at its meeting Monday.

FOR THE RECORD - Because of incorrect information supplied by the Essex-Middle River Civic Council, an article in the Maryland section yesterday misstated the topic to be discussed by Lockheed Martin Corp. representatives at the civic council's meeting Wednesday. The Lockheed Martin representatives will discuss the environmental cleanup at the company's Middle River property, said Ray Reiner, vice president of the civic council. The Sun regrets the error.

The multimillion-dollar lawsuit names as defendants three firms hired for the construction of the $77 million Baltimore County Detention Center at Kenilworth Drive and Bosley Avenue. The county accuses DMJM H&N Inc., a Los Angeles architecture firm, and Baltimore subcontractors Henry Adams Inc. and EBA Engineering Inc. of breach of contract and negligence.

The lawsuit contends that architectural drawings were delivered late and hallways "were slanted, not level," among other problems, and that the mistakes led to months of construction delays. The detention center, which at one time was expected to open in March 2005, is set to open early next month, a county spokesman said this week.

The lawsuit alleges the delays cost the county millions of dollars. It also lists as damages the salaries of guards and officers hired in anticipation of the opening of the new jail. The county seeks $5 million in each of six counts.

In court papers, EBA denies the county's allegations. Responses from DMJM and Henry Adams had not been filed with the court as of yesterday afternoon. A DMJM executive said yesterday that company officials do not comment on pending litigation, and attempts to obtain comment from officials at Henry Adams and EBA were unsuccessful.

Also in Baltimore County Circuit Court, contractor Oldcastle Precast Inc. of Washington state filed a suit against the county last month, saying the company is owed more than $3.6 million for work involving the installation of prison cells in the new jail. The lawsuit refers to the county's suit against DMJM, Henry Adams and EBA, and alleges that delays caused by the county and other contractors led to delays of Oldcastle's work.

Donald I. Mohler, a spokesman for County Executive James T. Smith Jr., declined to comment on either lawsuit.

Josh Mitchell

JACKSONVILLE

MDE to announce action in gas leak

Maryland Department of the Environment officials said they will announce today legal action the agency will take in response to a 25,000-gallon gasoline leak at a Jacksonville service station.

The Exxon station, at Jarrettsville Pike and Paper Mill and Sweet Air roads, has been closed as contractors work to clean up the spill in an area where all residents and businesses rely on well water. Gasoline apparently escaped from a punctured underground line at the rate of 675 gallons a day for 37 days before it was reported in February to state environmental regulators.

As of yesterday, the company had recovered 10,600 gallons of gasoline and had pumped and treated 2 million gallons of contaminated groundwater, according to MDE. Maryland's top environmental official has pledged to impose penalties against ExxonMobil.

U.S. court

Man gets 12 1/2 years in bank robberies

A federal judge sentenced a 44-year-old Baltimore man yesterday to serve 12 1/2 years in prison for robbing two Towson banks.

Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg also ordered Harry Hudson Conway to pay $3,369 in restitution. Conway pleaded guilty on Dec. 19 to robbing the Mercantile Bank in the 400 block of Washington Ave. on Sept. 12 and, three days later, the Hamilton Federal Bank in the first block of W. Pennsylvania Ave.

Police said that after the robbery of the Hamilton Bank, a dye pack exploded as Conway walked through Towson Commons mall. Baltimore County police officers saw the stains and arrested him.

Matthew Dolan

Middle River

Lockheed to discuss property plans

Representatives from Lockheed Martin Corp. will discuss future proposals for their property at a meeting of the Essex-Middle River Civic Council.

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the new recreation building at Renaissance Park, Stemmers Run Road and Eastern Boulevard. The meeting is open to the public. Information: 410-335-5834.

Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to baltco.news@baltsun.com. Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance.

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