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Wolfeblog posts this

Post  WHL on Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:35 am

The sky is falling
Posted on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 by wolfeblog
Well, not the whole sky, but if a couple of professionals are to be believed, the roof of Brewster Hall is about to fall.

I’ve resisted sensationalizing this issue, instead making discrete inquiries to the town, asking that they get a definitive determination of the status of the structural issues. So far, there is no indication that they are taking it seriously.

The story begins seven years ago when the Town Hall Restoration Committee was developing the $6.8 million showcase project. Part of it was the reinforcement of the roof with 13 tons of structural steel. At the time we were still hearing the “great bones” rhetoric and the structural work was explained as a “seismic upgrade”.

Three years later, in presenting the Friends’ $4 million plan, the new architect John Grosvenor said that there was a roof issue with the “walls spreading” and that it had to be addressed within ten years. Here’s a post about that with a link to the video where he says it.

This past summer, I decided to find out what was really going on, so I asked the town for a copy of the original structural engineer’s report. Turns out there wasn’t one. At least none that could be produced by the town or Structures North, the engineers that we paid for designing the reinforcement.

So in September the town asked NCA architects about Mr. Grosvenor’s assertions of a problem. NCA obtained a roof truss analysis from Structures North and Holly Grosvenor then told the town that based on the load diagram, she can’t understand why the roof hasn’t failed already. Here’s the email exchange.

Then in mid-October NCA received a proposal from Structures North to revisit the site, determine if there has been any deterioration in the conditions, and examine alternative solutions. They also said that there was a possibility that after re-examining the roof, they might recommend greater urgency.

The fee for this work would be $4,500 plus mileage. Holly Grosvenor recommended it be done ASAP.

So you might think that when a structural engineer and an architect who are intimately familiar with the building say that there may be a serious structural issue with the roof, and it would only cost $4,500 to get more information, somebody would take action.

Not so. As of late December, the Town Manager had not brought this up with the Board of Selectmen. He did, however, make the Friends aware of it. Here is a Nov 12 letter from Roger Murray to NCA where he inquires about it.

What’s interesting here is that Roger seems to be talking about the “wall spreading” issue that John Grosvenor brought up at the meeting three years ago. The repair for that issue involved a set of custom fabricated brackets that would be affixed to the ends of the trusses to better fasten them to the lower chord stress rods. What the structural engineers are talkling about now in their analysis is that the top chords of the trusses are overstressed and in danger of failing. That’s a completely different problem and requires 13 tons of structural steel to be installed. I do not see that anywhere in the estimates for either the $4 million project three years ago or the old spreadsheets that are the basis for the estimate of this new proposal.

It may be that Mr. Murray and the Friends are on top of this, but the question is how the Town Manager can have two qualified professionals raise a serious issue about the safety of the building and yet not inform the Selectmen, the public, or the employees who work in there. Moreover, why didn’t the Town Manager take it on himself to authorize the engineers to do the evaluation? My inquiries to him this week for an update have gone unanswered.

For Mr. Owen to work this issue privately with the Friends is completely inappropriate. The public has a right to know what is going on here. If the Friends paid the engineers to do the study so as to keep it out of the public view, that would be a violation of both the Right to Know law and the town’s policy of holding a public hearing to accept a gift valued at more than $1,000. Of greater importance is the conflict of interest that the Friends have between determining the basic safety and stability of the building and their efforts to convince the public to spend large sums of money restoring it.

You have to wonder---------
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Re: Wolfeblog posts this

Post  Achigan on Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:08 pm

So I've been into a town owned building that the roof could cave in at any time....NICE!!! Evil or Very Mad 

I just changed my mind about voting for the renovation. I don't care if it's in the plan to fix it or not, I should have been notified that there is a possibility that the roof could come down and the walls could also cave in.

I am really upset over this!!!!
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Post  WHL on Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:06 pm

Well, it seems like a lot of people would like to know this, Achigan. I don't think you are the only one. It would be nice if we would be told the truth for a change. Unless of course you don't believe the blog.
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Post  Achigan on Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:30 pm

WHL wrote:Well, it seems like a lot of people would like to know this, Achigan.  I don't think you are the only one.  It would be nice if we would be told the truth for a change.  Unless of course you don't believe the blog.

The blog supplied enough evidence for me to believe that there were a lot of people who knew that roof had structural problems.
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The latest

Post  WHL on Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:54 pm

Mediation Monday
Posted on Sun, Apr 13, 2014 by wolfeblog
A Notice of Mediation was placed on the docket today, ordering the parties to appear at a mediation session on Monday at 11:00am in Concord. The notice is dated today. The lead attorneys and “persons having full authority to negotiate and authorize a settlement” must appear.

It’s not stated how this was initiated. The mediation was ordered by Justice Landya B McCafferty of the US District Court having jurisdiction here, not by the trial judge.

It will be interesting to see if the trial judge rules on WPs outstanding objection before the mediation.
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Post  WHL on Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:46 pm

I hope you are all following the trial on the wolfeblog. Bob is doing a great job of keeping us informed of this. I hope he knows that his work is appreciated by some of us at least. Here is his latest:





Another week ends
Posted on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 by wolfeblog
The jury went home at 1:00pm. The judge and lawyers were sticking around to argue a motion to quash a subpoena for Harry Stewart of NHDES to testify. NHDES is opposing on the grounds that Mr. Steward has nothing to offer that cannot be provided by other lesser NHDES employees. Wright Pierce says he had a private conversation with someone from Wright Pierce that nobody else is privy to.

Today they finished up reading in a deposition and managed to get in the testimony of Rene Pelletier from NHDES. So this entire week we got through something like 6 witnesses and read in a deposition. At this rate, Wolfeboro alone will consume all of next week. You have to wonder if Wolfeboro’s strategy isn’t to consume virtually all of the reasonable time and leave the judge and jury to blame Wright Pierce when they enter week four. I’m still waiting to see how that org-chart they created yesterday while converting Melissa Hamkins testimony from a 2 hour prediction to a five hour reality.

I’ll have more over the weekend about Mr. Pelletier’s testimony and my general impressions after nine days of Wolfeboro presenting their case .
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Post  WHL on Fri May 02, 2014 6:26 pm

Here is the latest.  I hope he doesn't mind me bringing it over here for others to see.  I think he should be applauded for his interest.  It can't be easy for him to make the effort to travel to Concord for this trial.




Sugar coating

Posted on Thu, May 1, 2014by wolfeblog

I read with interest today the Grunter’s meager coverage of the Wolfeboro v Wright Pierce lawsuit.  Now I know the Grunter hasn’t been to Concord to cover this event, even though it’s probably the biggest lawsuit in Town history.  I know because I’ve been there every day and haven’t seen hide nor hair of the Grunter.
In usual fashion, the newspaper gets it’s news about the town by asking the town.  So what we get is the usual sugar coated spin.  I’m not saying the town has a good or bad case, but I will say that the representation in the Grunter is misleading.
The paper says that the town has won 8.5 out of 9 rulings by the trial judge.  What they don’t mention is:

  • WP moved to eliminate a count of Breach of Warranty, and rather than object, the town withdrew the count.
  • Same with a motion by WP to eliminate a count of Gross Negligence.
  • WP moved to prohibit the town’s expert witness Phillip Forsley from testifying.  Rather than lose that, the town removed him from the witness list.
  • The town did not seem to enter their two expert witness reports as exhibits, presumably because they do not have one of the authors, Mr. Forsley.

[size][color][font]
I suppose you can count the motions that actually get ruled on, and not mention the ones you avoid loosing by essentially doing what you would have done had you lost.
For such a great case, it seems curious to me that Wolfeboro and their experts were at the RIB site on Easter Sunday, after the first week of trial, taking pictures and developing more evidence to support their case.
The town may have a great case and may win big, but it does the citizens no good to have the Selectmen tout artificial statistics to convince everyone how great it’s going without being honest about some of the major setbacks as well.  Better to just say it will be a long hard trial and leave it at that.[/font][/color][/size]
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Post  News Buzzard on Fri May 02, 2014 6:57 pm

I agree because he's putting a lot of miles on his car for this.

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Post  WHL on Fri May 02, 2014 6:59 pm

And it's a lot of effort to get your bod in gear to go sit through that all the time too.  You have to give him credit for his interest!  He keeps us up to date.
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Post  WHL on Sat May 03, 2014 7:16 pm

Have you read the lastest on the blog?



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The goat
Posted on Sat, May 3, 2014by wolfeblog
During the Friday morning recess, our attorney Ms. Cull confronted me and said that “they” (meaning the Wright Pierce team I presume) have been reading this blog, and that their attorney had represented to the judge that I thought Wolfeboro’s expert witness Robert Bowden did a bad job.  She was noticeably furious.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that.  My remarks about his testimony are contained in this post and this post.  I think did a pretty good job of holding back.  I’ll tell you what I really think after the trial is over.
Here’s the thing.  I didn’t hire Wright Pierce.  I had no knowledge of the alleged problems until this lawsuit was announced.  I had nothing to do with filing the lawsuit.  I have been sitting quietly in the back of the courtroom for three weeks.  I have not spoken with anyone from the Wright Pierce camp – ever.  I have not spoken to anyone on the Jury.  Wolfeboro’s attorney told me the second day that they had been instructed not to talk to me.  I’m a fly on the wall.
I haven’t written any letters to the newspaper about this trial.  What I have done is to record my observations and impressions in this blog.  I haven’t advertised the blog.  I haven’t sent anything to anyone.  People who are interested in what I have to report and say about the trial can read the blog if they so choose.
If WPs lawyer Mr. Dennehy decides to represent the contents of this blog to the court, I can’t do anything about that.  I don’t know if he characterized the blog accurately or not.
Judge DiClerico is 73 years old.  This ain’t his first rodeo.  He is no doubt familiar with Mr. Dennehy and his tactics.  Judging from his reaction to other courtroom ploys of Mr. Dennehy, I would say that Wolfeboro may have received a subtle benefit from that history.
This is about a case that isn’t tracking as expected and somebody has to be set up to take the blame.  Conveniently, I’m in the back of the room just begging to be the goat.
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Post  News Buzzard on Sat May 03, 2014 8:24 pm

I would have only reported the details and not offered my opinions as Bob Lemaire has, but it's his blog and I don't get to tell him what to do. The state is going to make us fix this problem whether we win or lose the case, and if we lose it's going to cost us plenty !

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Post  WHL on Sun May 04, 2014 7:37 am

Yeah, we better hope we win something, if we don't we will just add the atty. fees into the expense.  And those atty. fees must be something else with this long trial!!  I have a feeling there will end up being some kind of a compromise where we won't really win the money but WP will have to end up somehow fixing the problems.  They seem to think the problems can be fixed.
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Post  News Buzzard on Fri May 09, 2014 8:58 pm

Bob Lemaire made a post on his blog that the Town won the sewer lawsuit and was awarded a judgement of $6.8 million !

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Post  WHL on Sat May 10, 2014 7:34 am

That't lucky for the town-think of all the atty. fees we would have had to pay.  I wonder if it will be appealed?
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Post  News Buzzard on Sat May 10, 2014 8:18 am

WHL wrote:That't lucky for the town-think of all the atty. fees we would have had to pay.  I wonder if it will be appealed?

Not a clue. I guess they'll have a certain number of days to file an appeal if they choose to do so.

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Post  News Buzzard on Sat May 10, 2014 11:25 am

Today Mr Lemaire seems to be re-litigating the gallons per day definition, as he has intimated many times that Dave Ford overloaded the basins early on. The jury made a decision, Bob ! Time to move on !

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Post  News Buzzard on Tue May 13, 2014 3:03 pm

Here is the statement of the jury's findings posted on the Town Website. The judge has already rejected a motion by Wright-Pierce challenging the jury's findings.

http://www.wolfeboronh.us/Pages/WolfeboroNH_News/01D6889E-000F8513

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Post  News Buzzard on Sat May 17, 2014 8:30 am

The judge increased the award to $7.6+ million from $6.8 million and ruled that WP violated the Consumer Protection Act. This automatically doubles the award and gives the Town until the end of the month to request up to triple the award. The Town's legal fees are also covered. The minimum award now stands at $15.3 million plus legal fees.

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Post  WHL on Sat May 17, 2014 9:07 am

I saw that.  Bob does a good job of keeping us updated, doesn't he?
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Post  News Buzzard on Sat May 17, 2014 11:44 am

All of that information is available online.

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Post  WHL on Sat May 17, 2014 11:53 am

On the town site?
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Post  News Buzzard on Sat May 17, 2014 12:39 pm

WHL wrote:On the town site?

Yes, and the Us District Court/ District of NH.

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Post  WHL on Sat May 17, 2014 4:44 pm

I didn't know they were posting reports of the trial on the town site.  I never check out the court sites.
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