A mistake in the design of a stormwater basin at the former French’s Landfill site on the part of a now-dissolved engineering firm will remain the burden of Brick taxpayers.
Birdsall Engineering, which went bankrupt days after a number of executives were indicted in a campaign finance scandal, had designed the stormwater basin incorrectly, but folded before the mistake was discovered. To repair the basin, the township in 2016 paid $230,293 to Earle Asphalt Company, and at the suggestion of a resident, sought reimbursement from Birdsall’s insurance carrier.
Township Attorney Kevin Starkey said despite efforts to recoup the money, no funds remained after the disgraced firm went under.
“We got, unfortunately, stuck,” he said, “because this catastrophic bankruptcy of Birdsall made all of the assetts disappear, so there was nothing to collect.”
Attorneys from a firm representing the township sought repayment from Birdsall’s insurance carrier, however because the claim was made after the company was fully liquidated, the action was denied.
“You have to make a claim during the policy [is in effect],” said Starkey. “Most entities that go out of business have what’s known as tail coverage, meaning you can continue to make the claim several years after. But because the company was already liquidated, there was no tail coverage.”
Bonds were paid toward the project by the construction company that built the basin, however the township did not have a case to collect on the bonds because it was the defunct engineering firm – not the construction company that acted on its faulty plans – responsible for the mishap.
The landfill, located on Sally Ike Road and now capped under order by the federal government, has been turned into a solar farm.