Architect says town handled situation poorly

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 3, 2007

FERRIDAY — Though the Ferriday Town Council voted to end contracts with architect Christopher Williams earlier this week because of hard feelings, for Williams the feeling is mutual.

The council voted Monday night to end contracts with Williams for future building projects of a music pavilion and a fire station. Williams previously contracted with the town for the now long-stalled community center project.

The town is currently looking at some legal recourse between the town and Williams and Arkel, Mayor Gene Allen said.

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Williams said he was not aware of any potential mediation at this time.

“I haven’t talked with anybody from the town for several months,” he said.

Williams worked on the community center project for approximately five years, and redrew the plans three times.

“I’m urging everyone to look at the public record of the correspondence (between the town and its contractors) to see what took place because it’s all documented,” he said.

The town and Williams have had a dispute since April regarding the payment of more than $100,000 for a community center and business incubator in downtown Ferriday.

The town maintained it should not have had to pay some of the funds to Williams, but Williams said the monies given him were for services rendered. The town has also in the past said Williams would not respond to correspondence.

When the contractor — Arkel Constructors, inc. — bailed on the project earlier this year, the town said it was because Williams had not provided engineering reports to the contractor, but Williams said it was because the contractor had not been paid.

“It is my understanding that the contractor gave them a bunch of stipulations if they (the contractor) was going to come back on board, including that a third party handle the financial dealings,” Williams said.

The town severing its ties with Williams didn’t have anything to do with past work, Allen said.

“That didn’t have anything to do with the community center project,” he said. “We did that because of how Chris (Williams) has treated us.”

With his work completed and paid for, Williams said he would not work for the town anymore.

“At this point, I don’t think I would go back to work for them, either,” he said.