P’ville mayor charged for misconduct

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By Jeff Moore

Prestonville Mayor Vickie Burgin has been charged with first-degree official misconduct in connection with the bidding process last year on the city’s recreation center and city hall.

If convicted of the Class A misdemeanor, Burgin could face up to 365 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.

A criminal complaint filed by Kentucky State Police Detective Michael Gonterman in Carroll County Circuit Court March 13 alleges that Burgin “intentionally failed to follow the bidding process by awarding a construction contract to a company that was not in the bidding process.”

The complaint charges that Burgin “requested the company to back date their contract to give the appearance that all bidding procedures were followed, inferring a benefit upon said construction company and penalizing other companies who had lawfully engaged in the bidding process.”

Gonterman said after his investigation into the bidding process, he determined the it was not handled correctly. “I felt like Vickie didn’t do all the process 100 percent the way she should have,” he said.

Gonterman said he looked into the bidding process on Prestonville’s new city hall and recreation center, including how the process came about and how the construction company that received the contract got the bid.

Once he concluded his investigation, he said he went to County Attorney Nick Marsh’s office to swear out the complaint for first-degree official misconduct.

Marsh, who asked for the state police investigation, could not be reached for comment.

In a Monday telephone interview, Burgin said she would be able to make a full statement next week. However, she did say that she believes the construction company should have been charged and prosecuted before her for what they did in the bidding process.

Burgin appeared before Judge Thomas M. Funk in Carroll County District Court on March 21, and her case was continued until April 4 so she can hire an attorney.

Prestonville City Attorney Alecia Gamm Hubbard said she would not be able to represent Burgin because it would be a conflict of interest.

The bidding process came into question in November when the contractor came before the city commission.

Can Do Construction owners Stacie and Raymond Hendricks told commissioners at the Nov. 12 meeting that they were not in the original bidding process.

Stacie Hendricks stated during the meeting that they learned of the project later in the summer when a barn on the land was being burned.

“Vickie came to me and asked me to back-date the paperwork, said there was problems with the council over here, people were fighting and arguing to keep the heat down,” Stacie Hendricks told the commission. “That’s when I started to get suspicious.”

“So you’re saying that you forged documents,” Burgin asked her.

“By your request,” Stacie Hendricks responded.  “I didn’t forge documents. You asked me to back-date. I did not know the bids were closed. I want that on the record.”

Burgin disagreed.

In a follow-up interview, Burgin told the News-Democrat that the bid was on the table at the April 9, 2012, meeting when bids were awarded. However, she claims it was in a different pile, was overlooked during the meeting and was not discovered to be the low bid until later when she was looking through them to contact the contractors.

Construction work had already halted over disputes between the city and the contractor when the Kentucky’s Division of Building Code Enforcement came to inspect the building and issued a stop-work order on the project. A November field inspection report says the state building inspector found that plans for the project were not filed with his office and he cited a host of problems with the structure.

These include structural-steel modifications that the report says may have compromised its structural integrity, poor workmanship on the concrete slab that is not square and not level, and issues with the foundation and the roof.

A bid from Lindsay Construction states that it would take $32,960 to make repairs and complete the installation of the metal building.

Prestonville commissioners voted Dec. 10 to take legal action against Can Do Construction in an effort to recover alleged damages from the company.