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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Builder to Pay County in Jail Construction Suit

October 04, 2000

LOS ANGELES — The County Board of Supervisors Tuesday agreed to accept $8.4 million from a construction company to settle a long-running dispute over allegedly shoddy work on the Twin Towers jail.

The settlement of the lawsuit against Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Inc. also calls for the firm to provide $500,000 in free services to the county, according to county documents.

Plans for the jail were "riddled with errors, omissions, code violations, conflicts and other deficiencies" that cost tens of millions of dollars to correct, according to a memorandum from county attorneys.

Although the county planned to present evidence of $24 million in damages, its lawyers recommended the settlement because the case would be highly technical and the company contested its allegations.

The company is also working on the county's replacement of quake-damaged County-USC Medical Center. The attorneys' memo states that the situation with that project should be different and that senior county managers will meet with company staff to monitor the effort.

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