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Contractor paid $500,000 before project started

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The Ellis County Press

Lawsuit claims The Nay Company not on the job

WAXAHACHIE – The Nay Company construction firm was paid $500,000 for work at Mid-Way Regional Airport despite not being on the job yet, according to court documents in a lawsuit against the cities of Waxahachie and Midlothian, which subsidize the airport.

One of the issues in the lawsuit, filed by contractor Ken Halverson of Ken-Do Construction, alleges the cities of defamation when the Mid-Way airport board – members of which are appointed by both cities – "couldn’t find" any qualifications for Halverson.

The $500,000 request was put in documentation released as part of Halverson’s request for deposition paperwork from both cities.

Halverson said the documents – which The Ellis County Press obtained in a brown box - were released on accident, but that it solidifies his case nonetheless.

Former Waxahachie director of finance Carl Wessels, now at the City of Lancaster in a similar position, signed off on the Nay request, according to the documents.

Wessels asked to see the copy of the request and paperwork before making a comment.

Halverson’s other lawsuit against the cities alleges illegal contracts were awarded - and signed off by Wessels - to the Nay Company by both entities because procedural steps were not followed.

The Nay Company, based in Waxahachie, was awarded a contract to construct new hangars in 2002 but when their 2006 contract was awarded on new hangars at the airport on Highway 287, Halverson’s suit alleged that move was illegal because the original hangars were not completed.

Then, pilots at the airport came forward with a video on YouTube showing the airport hangars alleged deficiencies, including improper drainage work and electrical wires that were alleged to have dangled around puddles of water.

Halverson’s suits are in front of Ellis County Court at Law No. 1 Judge Greg Wilhelm, who ordered the release of certain documentation by a Dec. 8 deadline; Halverson said both cities failed to respond to the request.

In previous hearings before Wilhelm, city officials from both entities said they would appeal any decision.

"I certainly hope all parties have their paperwork in order and proper procedure," said Midlothian lawyer Todd Phillippi, who is handling Halverson’s defamation case.

Another YouTube video released early last year shows Wessels, the finance director in Lancaster, instructing the Midlothian City Council in 2006 to award "an illegal contract."

City officials in Waxahachie did not return requests for comment on the legality of the contracts and the $500,000 payment. Midlothian officials said Waxahachie handled the payments, but Halverson said both cities chipped in half of the Nay Company request.

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