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Harvey main target of port’s attorneys

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / June 15, 1998

LAPLACE – While the South Louisiana Port Commission hired attorneys Wednesday to pursue a completed audit of Bay Star Enterprises’ stewardship at Globalplex, the commission shifted a half-million dollars in its own budget to pay for maintenance needs left behind by Bay Star owner Marvin Harvey.

Harvey, already a target of investigations by the Louisiana State Police and the state Inspector General, is now a target of the port’s new attorneys.

“There wouldn’t be any cost if Mr. Harvey had supplied us with theinformation to finish the audit,” Commissioner Brent Tregre commented.

Meanwhile, former port director Richard Clements said Thursday, “I talked to the Inspector General before I left there, that I thought there was some stuff there that ought to be investigated.”Clements said of Harvey, “He was a fish out of water. He was looking tomaximize his benefits from contracts without putting much into maintenance.”Maintenance at Globalplex, or the lack thereof, was the center of much of Wednesday’s port commission meeting. Almost a half-million dollars ofwhat Executive Director Gary LaGrange said were “lateral shifts” were made to pay for various problems left behind by Bay Star.

Commissioner Louis Joseph reluctantly agreed to the budget shifts but said afterward, “$432,000! That’s what I’m aggravated about! Half a million dollars and we only approved the budget a few months ago!” Among those problems was asbestos left behind by Pro-Tech Environmental Services, hired in 1995 to remove the toxic substance from the old Godchaux-Henderson sugar refinery being torn down.

Commissioners complained that Pro-Tech was allowed to skimp on the job, leaving behind asbestos on the tops of five boilers, while Harvey received a $50,000 consulting fee.

As a result, Pro-Tech is being brought back to complete its job at a cost of $13,400.

Other expenditures included $5,771 for emergency repairs to century-old, cast-iron water lines at Globalplex which recently broke during the demolition in progress and another $45,000 to install a new 10-inch replacement water line.

Also, $85,000 was approved for moving the truck discharge station for the waste treatment ponds 300 feet to accommodate a new Globalplex tenant and installation of a chain-link security fence where two buildings were taken down at a price tag of $6,897.

Baton Rouge attorney Stephen Irving was hired as primary counsel to pursue completion of the Bay Star Enterprises audit at a basic fee of $100 per hour.

Joseph told the commission he wants detailed expense reports, but the commission agreed the attorney will primarily report to president Brandt Dufrene and treasurer Gregory Lier.

“You’ve got some problems at Globalplex,” LaGrange commented. “This isnot fun. It’s not easy.”In other action Wednesday, the port commission – * Made plans to renovate a house on West 10th Street for port finance office personnel and shift others to either the old Cal Western office or to the port’s Belle Terre Boulevard office in LaPlace, vacating the so-called “Pink Building” on West 10th, the former employee clubhouse for Godchaux-Henderson. A total of $30,000 was approved for renovation workat the house to be occupied.

Plans are either to raze that building or offer it to the Godchaux House Historical Society, moving it off the present property. “It was really theheart of activity in Reserve for a lot of years,” Tregre said.

* Heard Executive Director LaGrange report on the pending final agreements for the TransAmerican Refinery dock, action on which is planned at the July meeting.

* Opened bids on the new Globalplex general cargo cranes relocated from St. James Parish. The bids will be reviewed and negotiated by LaGrangewith action planned at the July meeting.

* Approved a contract for nearly $13,000 for Pyburn & Odom to inspect the new dock improvements at ADM Growmark.

* Approved the News-Examiner as the port’s 1998-99 official journal.

* Approved offering old railroad ties to the public to haul away, as desired from Globalplex at a staging area to be determined.

* Approved a contract for nearly $195,000 for the Globalplex master plan for development, to be conducted during the next six months. “It’s chartingour course for the future,” LaGrange said.

* Heard a report on St. John Stevedoring, which vacated its contract asships defaulted on payments due, totaling $60,000.

* Approved a $9,700 change order on the Rescue Runner fireboat, still in dry dock. A total of $113,000 has been spent already on the 1973 boatwhich has a replacement value of $500,000.

* Approved moving 172 acres of the sub-foreign trade zone from the Ashton Plantation site next to the Hale Boggs Bridge in Luling, now scheduled for a massive residential development. The FTZ acreage willnow include all of Wilton Plantation in St. James Parish.

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