The Richmond Register

Local News

October 23, 2013

Sunset Avenue problem sparks heated exchanges

Commissioner, mayor disagree on solution

RICHMOND — Heated discussion was sparked among commissioners and employees when it was announced at Tuesday night’s city commission meeting that a Sunset Avenue resident was facing a lien on her property after she hired a company to clean up flood damage in her basement.

Jennifer Maupin said Phillip Williams, who represents the city’s insurance interests, and Planning Director Jason Hart had advised her to have the basement cleaned and the bill would be paid by the city’s insurance. However, when Maupin submitted the bill, the insurance provider denied the claim.

She then submitted the bill to Lagco, a contractor which installed the pervious concrete sidewalks for the Sunset Avenue storm-drain project. However, Lagco’s insurance company also denied the claim.

Commissioner Laura King asked Maupin to speak on the issue.

“The long and short of it is she was someone who fixed the problem years and years ago,” King said. “The city started the project two years ago, but at this time she is getting ready to have a lien placed on her property for the negligence of the city.”

Maupin gave a detailed account of the project and her experience with it, accusing Mayor Jim Barnes of hanging up on her.

“When the mayor finally returned my phone calls, I began discussing my concerns as I’m discussing them with you now,” she said to the commission. “I was directly cut off by the mayor, at which point he told me he was in a meeting, after he returned my phone call, and he hung up the phone in my ear.”

Tuesday night, Barnes apologized, but said Maupin was screaming over the phone, and he couldn’t understand what she was saying.

Maupin also said she had sent two emails to the mayor and City Manager Jimmy Howard, and received no reply.

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