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County OKs litigation
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The Warren County Commission passed two resolutions Monday night relating to the county’s breach of contract with a FEMA/ TEMA Hazard Mitigation grant in 2004 applied for and administrated by then-county executive and current Commissioner Kenneth Rogers.Commissioners voted 19-4, with Rogers abstaining, to pass a resolution to pay homeowner Michael Hubbard $31,000.Commissioners voted 20-3, with Rogers abstaining, to pass a resolution to initiate legal action to recoup $124,000, less any amount covered by a performance bond of $50,000 held by Rogers during his time as county executive.It remains to be seen who will be named in the lawsuit as Rogers and businessman Randall Dunn are the two principals involved in the breach of contract.In reference to the breach of contract on the $124,000 grant, FEMA/ TEMA directed the county to repay the organization’s $93,000 share of the 75-25 matching grant, and also directed the county to pay $31,000 to Hubbard, who owned the house named in the grant. The commission had previously voted to allot $93,000 in next year’s budget to repay FEMA/ TEMA its share of the funding, but had not allotted funds to pay Hubbard.The grant in question was requested and administered locally by Rogers. Per the contract, the $124,000 grant was specifically designated to purchase, demolish and remove a flood-damaged home owned by Hubbard.But instead of having the home destroyed, Rogers entered into a contract with Dunn of RWRP Properties to have the home dismantled and moved, with Dunn providing a contribution of $16,000 to the county, $6,000 of which was paid back to Dunn with two checks for $4,500 and $1,500.In an effort to recover the $124,000, the county’s Budget and Finance Committee drew up resolutions to recover the money from those responsible, and to pay Hubbard his $31,000, which he had originally agreed to forfeit in writing, according to Rogers.It was the resolution to pay $31,000 to Hubbard which generated the most controversy as several commissioners professed confusion as to why this was necessary.“Why are we doing this?” asked Commissioner Wayne Copeland.