Landfill troubles continue in Pasquotank County
PASQUOTANK COUNTY – In a report last week, we questioned why cardboard in excess of 400 tons was alleged to have been given away without charge to the firm receiving this material.
By any stretch of the imagination, this recyclable material was worth thousands of dollars to the county. James Morris, a frequent of landfill operations, asked the County Manager to explain this irregularity, to which the manager replied that there was no record of who had received this material.
Later, an official stated that the cardboard had been given to a small local business. But, there were no documents to show the name or address of this “local business.” Later that same day, the official stated that, in fact, the material had been delivered to an Elizabeth City address, and that a firm named Futura had received the cardboard – with a subsequent name change to Milestone Metal LLC.
Apparently — from what has been learned so far — the cardboard would be picked up, then taken to the County Landfill and weighed before being delivered to Milestone. That is how the weight was determined to be 428.93 tons of recyclable cardboard, which could have a significant wholesale value.
Pasquotank Commissioner Frankie Meads performed a phone check with Milestone and discovered that the firm had purchased cardboard from the County during the period of June 1 through Dec 30 of 2014, and had paid the County (under the name of Dump and Cash) the sum of $836.32 in July and $866.08 in October — the exact time frame when an official told us there were no documents pertaining to the sale of cardboard. These invoices reveal that the County was paid $8 per ton for the combined weight from both invoices of 212.80 tons, or about half of the tonnage that was sold or given away.
Morris, the gadfly mentioned above, reports that Commissioner Joe Winslow sent an email to County Attorney Mike Cox requesting that he undertake an investigation pertaining to a suspected Breach of Contract involving the current contractor. That request was made a year ago.
More recently, Cox responded to another email in which he said no investigation was undertaken because of “procedural issues.” Then he went on to mention numerous other issues having nothing to do with the original question.
Insiders familiar with this matter are expected to file a formal request for documents under the Freedom of Information Act — necessary if we are to learn all the details about this matter.
Complicating this issue is the matter of an old house that was burned down by the City Fire Department. The remains were hauled away by the same contractor that is associated with the Landfill Operations. In that case, the contractor was paid for the removal of 19 large trailer loads of material, deemed excessive according to the accounts of people who are knowledgeable.
The watchdog group, Pasquotank Citizens against Fraud and Excessive Government Spending, consists of eight members of the community who keep trying to secure the needed information about these matters. The apparent stonewalling by county officials, such as those mentioned above, suggests that this pursuit is worthwhile.
Morris, the concerned county citizen, has been pursuing this issue for several years. However, with the theft trial of accused employee, James White, finally set for next week (after several continuances) the case could take on a new dimension.