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PEDC wants investigation report next week

The Depot, 1135 Bonham
The Depot, 1135 Bonham

Paris Economic Development Corp. wants the final report on the investigation by Defenbaugh & Associates by July 22.

That’s nearly a week earlier than the July 28 deadline the City Council gave earlier this month.

“The contract said the work was going to be done by the end of May, and they’re still coming up here in July,” Chairman Stephen Grubbs said. “I think we can ask for it whenever because they’re already past the deadline.”

Grubbs said he even favored asking for the report right away, but was willing to give enough time to finish it.

Board Treasurer Rebecca Clifford, the former chair and PEDC’s sole point of contact with Defenbaugh so far, said she notified the firm of the council’s deadline a few weeks ago and was told the investigation was still ongoing.

“I know they have conducted interviews,” she said. “I think there may have been some that have not been completed, but the report should be done by July 28.”

Barrantine spoke with Danny Defenbaugh on July 2 for more than two hours. When the interview was over, he asked if she had any questions. She did not, but he apparently did: “He said, ‘Well I do: When do I get my May invoice payment?’”

The $21,075 payment has been withheld so far pending a final report, which was originally expected at the end of May. An April bill for $22,042 has already been paid. PEDC has committed at most $50,000 to the investigation.

“I say we have the check cut and when they hand us the thing, we hand it to them there on the spot,” board member Don Wilson said. “We’ve performed more than he’s performed if you just look at the contract.”

The board decided to hold payment until the final report is received, although Clifford and board member David Turner voted against delaying payment any longer.

“I think y’all ought to pay the bill,” Turner said. “I get real upset when people don’t pay me.”

The PEDC board plans to review the report a few days prior to the City Council getting it. Before such a document is released, Grubbs said, it is routine to review it to make sure all is correct and understood.

“We need to have that first scrub to make sure we understand it, and then share it as quickly as possible,” he said.

Edwin Pickle, the City Council liaison to the PEDC board, did not see that as a problem so long as the council got it by the deadline already set.

“I think y’all should see it several days before we do,” he said. “Y’all are the ones who asked for it.”

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