Included in the documents filed with the countersuit are letters and e-mails which show that P1 warned Superintendent C. J. Huff and Universal Construction that delays in construction plus the push to make sure Joplin High School opened in August 2014 were going to cost plenty, including overtime, but the response was always full speed ahead.
An e-mail sent by Huff to P1 says that the Board of Education discussed P1's request for more money during a closed session in July 2014. If Huff was telling the truth about that discussion, that would indicate that the board acted illegally, since at that time there was no litigation involving P1 and the school district, and other documents indicate the district did not consult a lawyer until September, rhus the request should have been discussed in open session.
But the extra costs seem to have all been caused by the push to open the high school in August 2014, according to the countersuit:
Completion of P1 Group’s work on the Project was materially delayed as a result of actions by Joplin Schools, UCC, Corner Greer and/or other contractors, consultants or professionals hired by Joplin Schools.Joplin Schools was aware of the delays on the Project.
Because of the unavailability of other facilities for the students beginning in the fall of 2014, Joplin Schools could not extend the schedule for the Project to account for the delays. As a result of the delays, P1 Group’s work on the Project was accelerated as it had to perform its work in a compressed time frame.
Beginning in November 2013, P1 Group began working overtime on the Project at the direction of UCC in order to help reduce the impact of the delays on the Project attributable to persons other than P1 Group. P1 Group continued to work overtime at UCC’s direction until the new school opened.
On February 27, 2014, P1 sent a letter to Universal Construction, the company which managed the building project to warn it of the extra costs that were coming due to the construction delays. In an e-mail response, Universal blamed the project architect Corner Greer for delays. In a letter dated April 23, 2014, UCC told P1 that it thought its cost projections were 'OK," EIght days later, P1 sent a letter to the Joplin School District containing much of the information it had sent Universal.
Following two meetings with Joplin Schools in June, the company received a message from C. J. Huff, according to the countersuit:
On July 3, 2014, Joplin Schools’ Superintendent, Dr. CJ Huff sent an email to P1 Group advising that he had met with the Joplin School Board’s Facilities Committee and that he had talked with the individual members of the Facilities Committee. (Note: The committee consisted of Mike Landis and Jim Kimbrough.)
Dr. Huff reported that they were “comfortable” taking P1 Group’s request for compensation related to the directed acceleration to the School Board at the July 2014 meeting. On behalf of Joplin Schools, Dr. Huff requested P1 Group to provide a “not to exceed” number for the acceleration impacts through Project completion.
On July 11, 2014, in response to Dr. Huff’s email, P1 Group sent a letter to Joplin Schools, with a copy to UCC and Corner Greer, requesting a change order in the amount of $2,912,000 to cover the anticipated costs related to the delays and acceleration on the Project.
On July 22, 2014, Dr. Huff, on behalf of Joplin Schools, sent an email to P1 Group advising that he was presenting P1 Group’s request for compensation to the Board that evening and anticipated questions from the Board. Dr. Huff also advised that he appreciated P1 Group’s commitment to helping Joplin Schools achieve its goals.
On July 26, 2014, Dr. Huff, on behalf of Joplin Schools, sent an email to P1 Group advising that, as expected, the Board had a number of questions regarding P1 Group’s claim. Dr. Huff explained: “Due to the size of the billing, I think they just want to be comfortable that they can justify the expense when asked by patrons and the media.”
After classes began in August, P1 notified the district that more of its delays were going to increase the costs on the auditorium, which was still not finished.
By letter dated September 10, 2014, P1 Group notified Joplin Schools of delays and interferences related to completion of Area A – the Auditorium for the new High School. P1 Group notified Joplin Schools that P1 Group would seek compensation for these issues.
By email dated September 16, 2014, P1 Group was notified by Joplin Schools that due to the amount of P1 Group’s claims, Joplin Schools had retained a law firm to review P1 Group’s claims.
60. By letter dated October 29, 2014, Dr. Huff, on behalf of Joplin Schools, notified P1 Group that Joplin Schools was denying P1 Group’s request for additional compensation.
In the original lawsuit filed by the school district against P1, the district claims that P! was guilty of shoddy worksmanship, but there is no mention of anything of that sort in its dealings with the company itself.
P1 has continued working on the auditorium project and was still doing punch list items as the countersuit was filed.
P1's two-count suit charges the district with breach of contract and failure to make prompt payment.
Information about the original lawsuit filed by the R-8 School District can be found at this link.