At Tuesday, February 6th Winter Park Town Council meeting, the meeting opened with “any business not on the agenda”, and, Clark Lipscomb with Cornerstone Holdings LLC, came forward with a past due statement for the Town’s portion of expenses related to construction of the Winter Park Underpass project. The invoice, dated January 31, 2018, was in the amount of $1,194,568, with $79,145 in interest on the past due balance included in the total. He explained to the Town Council members that Town staff had been directed to not issue a receipt of previous invoices, and, attempts to send them via certified mail had also been rejected and returned by the Town. Lipscomb asked the Council “who should I hand this statement to?” Council members pointed to the interim Town Clerk, Danielle Jardee whom accepted the invoice.
Lipscomb went on to tell the Council members that the underpass now “looks like a bridge” and that he hopes to have it completed and open by August 2018, depending upon ground and frost conditions. According to Lipscomb, the construction team expects to start up again in March weather permitting.
The Underpass project’s path started back in 2004 when an Annexation Agreement was signed by the then Mayor Nick Teverbaugh and amended in 2007 by the Town Council at the time. Litigation as been ongoing over the last decade and created a trail of paper work for both entities.
When completed, the underpass will provide an east-west, unobstructed route beneath the Railroad Tracks north of the existing crossing on King’s Crossing Road, which according to the Cornerstone Holdings attorney is to be closed upon completion of the underpass. In the agreement signed and upheld by the courts in 2014, the Town of Winter Park is responsible for 100% of the construction cost of the closure and the connection of the road system.
Lipscomb stated that the project is about 66% complete and estimates the final cost of the project to be about $10 million. Per the Annexation Agreement as amended, the Town of Winter Park is responsible for 20% of the project construction costs but not to exceed $1.75 million of the Hard Costs. According to Lipscomb, the town has not paid anything on the project thus far and produced a stack of invoice copies dating back to 2014 yet to be paid. The invoice put in front of the Town Council on Tuesday was a sum of all work to date. The Admendment Agreement dated March 6, 2007 provided to the Winter Park Times states: “as Annexor incurs Hard Construction Costs, the Town will reimburse Annexor for the Town’s 50% share of such Hard Construction costs within 20 days after the receipt of an invoice. Any invoice not promptly paid by the Town pursuant to this Section 4.1(b)(ii)(C)(2) will incur interest at the rate of 18% per annum.”
According to interim Town Manager, Bill Wengert, Lipscomb may submit documents to the Town as any other citizen may, however, the Town is not compelled by any law or agreement to provide CornerStone Holdings, LLC or their representatives with receipts for such submissions. Wengert added, “The Town has litigated this issue, and based on a settlement agreed to by Mr. Lipscomb and approved by the Grand County District Court, the Town is under no obligation to pay these invoices.”