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Electric Company Seeking Payment For Work Done On River Valley Sports Complex

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — In February, the city of Fort Smith ended a contract with a non-profit group to construct the River Valley Sports Complex. The city contributed $1.6 million to the project, which was only partially completed. Now, an electric group that did the work is looking to get paid.

The owners of B&A Electric Incorporated showed up at Tuesday’s town hall meeting in Fort Smith — looking for their money.

But the interaction was civil, even as the board of directors explained that compensation was out of their hands. The board is not assuming liability.

Brian Buzbee spoke on behalf of B&A Electric Inc., which was contracted by the River Valley Sports Complex group to do the electrical work. B&A Electric Inc. says it completed the lights, light poles, electric service and concession stands.

Which is why they’re seeking payment of about $151,000.

“I guess he did an interview with the newspaper, and (Jake) Files said that since he was — his contract — with the city had been terminated, he’s no longer responsible to pay for those bills,” said Buzbee, adding, “And the city says he is responsible.”

The board told Buzbee there’s not much it can do.

The city sent B&A Electric Inc. a letter Tuesday morning (March 7) that says it’s assuming control of the property and materials on it — but were not assuming liability.

Carl Geffken, the Fort Smith city administrator, released this statement to 5NEWS:

“The city did not hire any of the contractors to do the work, our agreement was only with the River Valley Sports Complex/Jake (Files) and Lee (Webb). Now that the city terminated the contracts to build and operate the ball fields, the River Valley Sports Complex/Jake (Files) and Lee (Webb) are still responsible for the contracts they entered to do the work at the ball fields. That includes B&A Electric.”

Buzbee says his group has already hired a lawyer.

Recently, State Senator, Jake Files and his business partner, Lee Webb came under scrutiny. An auditor for the city of Fort Smith says contractor bids submitted by the pair’s non-profit may have been falsified.

Files says the claims are not true.