The Board of Trustees of the Galveston Wharves today to approve a contract with Jimmy Williamson, P.C, to represent the port in making a claim against British Petroleum for economic losses due to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
However, Caroline Adams, an attorney with the Buzbee Law Firm, a competing firm, had first made a presentation to the board. Listen
“I work 100 percent on BP Oil Spill,” Adams said. “I have helped the firm collect nearly $150 million through the BP Oil Spill.”
Adams said that the Buzbee Law Firm would work on a 25 percent contingency and assured the wharves board that it would receive 75 percent of any settlement.
Stretch Lewis, speaking for Simpson & Beeton, a local firm working with Williamson also made a presentation and said that his firm will also guarantee 75 percent to the port. Listen
After hearing the presentations, the wharves board met in executive session to select Williamson.
The wharves board voted unanimously to use a new process to select a contractor for the Downtown Intermodal Transit Terminal. Listen
On the recommendation of The Goodman Corporation, the port will issue a request for proposals “based on factors of other than lowest bid”. Instead the RFP will seek a contractor who can offer the “best value”. Contractors who respond to the RFP will submit a “Competitive Sealed Proposal”.
Port staff will recommend a contractor after ranking the contractors who respond and the wharves board will make the final selection.
“If this works, then I think we should use it for all of our contracts,” commented Trustee Edward Walsh.
Port Director Michael Mierzwa reported that operating revenues for April totaled $2.17 million, which was $230,00 under budget; and operating expenses totaled $2.035 million, which was $411,678 over the budget. Listen
“That was primarily due to the legal fees that we had with our litigation against Lexington Insurance,” Mierzwa said explaining the large expense item.
Mierzwa provided a report on numerous projects underway at the port. Report
He also provided the Cruise Passenger and Vehicle Count 2012 Summary Spreadsheet. Click Here
The wharves board discussed the litigation styled Galveston Wharves v. Lexington Insurance Company in executive session but took no action afterward.
The wharves board took on action on an agenda item relating to rehabilitation of the Shearn Moody Plaza Garage and the construction, development and operation of the transportation terminal on the adjacent property.
All other agenda items were approved. All votes were unanimous, with Robert Hoskins and Dianna Puccetti absent.
John Helsley of Texas, Mexico & Pacific Railroad, LLC updated the wharves board on progress toward establishment of a rail line on Pelican Island. Listen
Helsley compared the Galveston project to a “sister project” in Port Sydney, Nova Scotia.
“Port Sydney got started after we started our efforts here in Galveston and due to the permitting process we will turn dirt probably in four months in Sydney and start construction,” he said. “We will probably be in operation in Port Sydney before we even get our permits approved here in this country.”
Charlotte and Ted O’Rourke appeared before the wharves board.
Charlottee O’Rourke expressed concern about the Port of Galveston Pension Plan. Listen
“One of the things, I think, is our biggest problem is that each year the pension fund takes about $500,000 or more, to keep it funded,” she said, asking several questions about the port’s contribution to the pension fund.
Ted O’Rourke said that his wife deserves an answer to her questions. Listen
“All Charlotte’s asked for is what the previous port director left with for his retirement,” O’Rourke said.
Wharves Board Chair Roland Bassett, acknowledging that he is not supposed to respond to comments from the public at wharves board meetings, did respond to the question about Steve Cernak’s retirement. Listen
“Mr. Cernak is no longer employed by the port so there are no contributions being made to the pension plan for him,” Bassett said. “Secondly, he has not retired under the pension plan. So there is no payment being made.”