The taxpayers of Forney are clearly struggling to understand the purposed development direction being taken by the Forney City Council and their favorite longtime land developer, Petro-Hunt President Herbert Hunt.
The relationship between Petro-Hunt President Herbert Hunt and Council Member’s Robbie Powers and Mary Penn goes all the way back to the opening of the Gateway Bridge in 2008-2009.
The Gateway Bridge project was one of the first heavily researched projects ever published by The Forney Post, and I personally have attended and video recorded dozens of meetings in which Hunt representatives made outlandish development promises to the Forney City Council, the Forney EDC, the Forney P&Z Commission and the TIF Board of Directors.
From day one, former City Manager Brian Brooks and former Mayor Darrell Grooms along with the support of current Council Member’s Robbie Powers and Mary Penn have repeatedly pandered to Hunt Vice-President’s Alan Bain and John Blackburn without any regard or respect for the taxpayers they represent.
Because the City Council and Petro-Hunt representatives simply refuse to be open and honest about how much the Gateway Project will ultimately cost; The Forney Post will provide any and all documents within its possession to assist the citizens in understanding just how financially detrimental this council has become to our future.
Attached the taxpayers of Forney may review the most recent “Demand for Payment Invoice” the City Council received in May 2018 from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
It seems that yet another error made by former City Manager Brian Brooks is coming home to roost and this time TxDOT is demanding $1,386,838.57 in repayment for unqualified and unapproved change orders that were submitted for payment on the Gateway Bridge project.
The Gateway Bridge project was a qualified project of the TxDOT Texas Pass-through Toll Program.
The contract of inclusion into this TxDOT road improvements program very clearly required that all project change orders be pre-approved by the municipal benefiting from the project, in this case the Forney City Council.
By the completion of construction on the Gateway Bridge, over ninety change orders had been requested on this project and apparently the first dozen or so submitted to TxDOT for payment did not include the required City Council Minutes showing an approval vote for each of the change orders requested.
As is customary on projects of this size, the Forney City Council chose not to hire a qualified consultant to handle the contractual details associated with this multi-million dollar project.
Instead City Manager Brian Brooks hired former mayor Darrell Grooms as the consultant on the Gateway Bridge project and the council at the time approved of his decision.
It was Brian Brooks and Darrell Grooms who made the decision to forgo requesting City Council approval on these now “disqualified change orders”.
And it is the taxpayers of Forney who will yet again take the financial rip that has resulted from the unethical leadership of the Forney City Council.
Written by Denise Bell