Since removing its general contractor from phase one of the Riverfront Renaissance project, the City of Hastings is now working with subcontractors to make sure at least one feature is completed on time.
RSI Associates, a Prior Lake company, was removed from the project after it was discovered that certain construction documents had been forged. When valid, the documents provide a sort of insurance to the city and to subcontractors in case the general contractor failed to complete the project or failed to pay the subcontractors.
The city is now working directly with the subcontractors involved in the project, finding out whether or not they’re willing to complete the work that’s been started and how much the work will cost, said City Attorney Dan Fluegel.
“What happens with those contractors will determine where the city is able to go from here,” he said.
The primary focus is on the unfinished veterans memorial, located along the riverfront in Levee Park. There’s relatively little work left to do on the memorial, Fluegel said, so the city is leaning toward completing that part of phase one without hiring another general contractor. The city is still exploring whether or not a new general contractor is needed for the rest of the phase one work, which includes a park on the south side of Second Street next to the railroad depot.
Phase two, which includes major improvements to Levee Park and the adjacent public parking lot between Sibley and Ramsey streets, is not expected to be impacted. The city has not yet awarded a contract for phase two work.
The Hastings Police Department was first made aware of a possible document forgery by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.
In January, Scott County law enforcement learned that Gerard Leonard Roy, 53, of Prior Lake, had forged a bid bond in connection to Scott County’s Cleary Lake Park Visitor’s Center improvement project, according to the Scott County criminal complaint. The bid bond was offered on behalf of Restoration Specialists, Inc. (RSI), which Roy reportedly co-owns with his girlfriend, Loraine Schweich.
One of the sub-contractors on the project had reportedly complained about not receiving payment in full for work performed. A county construction manager had discovered the bond was invalid when attempting to verify the bond with the bond company.
While executing a search warrant at the business’ premises, warrant officers located equipment and documents with evidence that other projects had also been bid on using forged documents, including projects in Burnsville and Hastings.
According to the complaint, Roy admitted creating fraudulent documents and stated he did so because he didn’t have the required credit rating to secure it lawfully due to his extensive criminal history. He claimed Schweich had nothing to do with the fraud.
RSI has since filed for bankruptcy. The City of Hastings has joined a list of creditors in the bankruptcy hearings, which will have to be resolved before any criminal charges can be brought against the company.