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Horry Schools hasn’t paid millions for construction work at new schools, lawsuit alleges

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The new middle school in Carolina Forest features a group study center and energy-efficient design, according to First Floor Energy CEO Robert Ferris.
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The new middle school in Carolina Forest features a group study center and energy-efficient design, according to First Floor Energy CEO Robert Ferris.

Horry County Schools hasn’t paid millions of dollars to one firm involved with the construction of five schools, a lawsuit contends.

Selective Insurance Company of America filed an 84-page civil suit this week against Horry County Schools, Metcon/TA Loving, FirstFloor Energy Positive LLC and several other companies.

The suit, filed in Horry County, states the school district planned to build five new schools — Ten Oaks Middle School, Myrtle Beach Middle School, St. James Intermediate School, Socastee Elementary School and Socastee Middle School — for roughly $200 million.

Selective Insurance is a company that provided coverage as part of the project. Basically, Selective served as a guarantor for aspects of the projects.

Hester Drywall was hired as a subcontractor for the five projects. The suit says the company believed the work would be staggered — where they would finish one school then move to another.

In March 2017, the construction timeline accelerated, and Hester was required to work simultaneously at four schools, according to the suit.

The accelerated timeline required Hester to hire more employees and buy extra materials, the suit contends.

Hester’s financial situation deteriorated eventually forcing the company to file for bankruptcy and walk off the job in July 2017, according to the suit.

Selective says it was forced to provide replacement workers and cover the supply cost after Hester left, the suit states.

The company also contends it took over the responsibilities of Hester from before and after the bankruptcy.

The insurance provider says the district and the other companies haven’t paid Selective for work that Hester completed.

Selective says it’s owed more than $2.7 million by the defendants for some of the work. Some of the defendants — not including the school system — also owe Selective an additional $792,654.

Horry County Schools spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said the district does not comment on pending litigation.

Last year, F&B Mechanical sued the district and others over construction at some of the schools. The suit said the company was owed more than $190,000 for mechanical pipe installation at the sites.

The parties in that suit agreed to dismiss it in June. A court filing doesn’t specify why the sides agreed to drop the case.

Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.

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