Pinelands Board Tables $325,000 Roofing Payment

Administration Had Settled Lawsuit
By Rick Mellerup | Jul 30, 2019

Little Egg Harbor Township — The biggest news that came out of last Wednesday’s meeting of the Pinelands Regional Board of Education was something that didn’t happen.

The meeting agenda included a vote on a long-awaited settlement between the district and Mike Kobithen Roofing and Insulation. The board would be asked to approve a $325,000 payment already signed by Superintendent Melissa McCooley, Board Secretary/Business Administrator Nicholas K. Brown, Kobithen President Patricia Kobithen and Kobithen Vice President Michael Kobithen.

The agreement had been reached after both parties sat down with a mediator, retired Superior Court Judge Frank A. Buczysnki Jr. on July 19.

On July 24, the board tabled the agenda item without explanation. The settlement memorandum that had been attached to the agenda item, which showed the aforementioned signatures, was later removed from the district website.

So the public knows the district administration was planning on paying the roofing company $325,000. What the public doesn’t know is how much, if any, of the $5,062,000 contract signed with Kobithen in May 2017 is still being withheld beyond that $325,000. It seems the last information the public heard about the matter was at the Jan. 17, 2018 board meeting when Chuck Romanoli of New Road Construction – the construction manager Pinelands originally hired to oversee $53 million of rehabilitation at the high school and junior high buildings, approved by voters in January 2017 – spoke to the board and public. At that time Romanoli said “a substantial amount of money, about $765,000,” had yet to be paid to Kobithen. Since then, the board and administration have refused to discuss the payment issue, saying the matter was in litigation.

The board and administration again refused to discuss the issue in public July 24 after tabling the agenda item.

Rick Mellerup

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