Education

Horry County Schools seeking legal opinion regarding contracts

The Family Learning Center on Oak Street was torn down for a new middle school in Myrtle Beach.
The Family Learning Center on Oak Street was torn down for a new middle school in Myrtle Beach. jblackmon@thesunnews.com

Horry County Schools will consult with a third-party attorney to determine if the district is allowed access to FirstFloor Energy Positive’s third- and fourth-tier subcontracts for demolition and asbestos abatement work at new school sites.

“We have asked (school district in-house counsel Kenny Generette) to get an independent counsel, totally independent of the school district, not our board counsel that we use in Columbia, to look into that and come up with their interpretation of the contract,” said school board chairman Joe DeFeo on Monday.

It is not typical for a design/builder to obtain contracts from sub-subcontractors.

Robbie Ferris, CEO of FirstFloor Energy Positive

DeFeo said he’s asked FirstFloor Energy CEO Robbie Ferris for the contracts and would like to see them released.

“If I had another conversation, I would say ask your subs to release them,” said DeFeo. “My standpoint is I’d like to see him release them because I see no reason not to.”

Ferris on Tuesday said he he did not have the contracts, and that he did not believe his contract required him to obtain them.

In March, The Sun News sent a Freedom of Information request to see some of the subcontracts for demolition and asbestos abatement at the Myrtle Beach Family Learning Center, which had to be demolished before the new middle school could be built there.

My standpoint is I’d like to see him release them because I see no reason not to.

Joe DeFeo, Horry County school board chairman

In response, Horry County Schools Superintendent Rick Maxey sent a letter to FirstFloor Energy CEO Robbie Ferris on April 5 asking for the records.

Maxey cited the district’s contract with Ferris, writing “as stated in the contract, ‘full and detailed records and accounts related to the cost of the work’ including subcontracts, are to be kept by FirstFloor and made available to the district.”

In an April 6 response, Ferris wrote that his company did not have the contracts and said, “we also disagree with your assertion that FirstFloor Energy Positive has a contractual obligation to maintain the requested records.”

Firstfloor Energy Positive has legal counsel who has been and will continue to work with the attorneys for the school district regarding the contract terms.

Robbie Ferris, CEO of FirstFloor Energy Positive

FirstFloor Energy Positive maintains its direct subcontracts, said Ferris in a statement Tuesday, but that “it is not typical for a design/builder to obtain contracts from sub-subcontractors.”

“As you know, Firstfloor Energy Positive has legal counsel who has been and will continue to work with the attorneys for the school district regarding the contract terms,” said Ferris.

Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian

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