County hires attorney to assist with jail lawsuit

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News


The Henry County Supervisors have tapped an attorney from Ahlers and Cooney to assist with a lawsuit from Prochaska and Associates, Inc., which has halted progress on the new county jail.

During a meeting Tuesday, May 1, the supervisors approved an engagement letter with Ahlers and Cooney attorney Jason Craig for services representing the county. Prochaska and Associates filed a lawsuit on March 5 alleging, among other things, breach of contract regarding the work done for the Henry County Jail, including evaluating the functional and operational deficiencies of the existing Law Enforcement Center facilities, reviewing previous studies and providing a forecast of anticipated capacities for the next 30 years. In the lawsuit, Prochaska claims they had assessed fees of Phase 1 and 2 under market value with the assumption they would be contracted for Phase 3. Prochaska was then excluded from bidding Phase 3 because the contractor had allegedly cast them in unfavorable light to the Board of Supervisors.

In addition to the supervisors, Prochaska is also suing the Law Enforcement Center contractor John Hansen (individually) and Midwest Construction Consultants for violating the Iowa Open Records Act, breach of implied contract and breach of contract in law and unjust enrichment.

The Iowa Communities Insurance Pool (ICAP) will be covering the majority of their suit, including the section which alleges the board did not provide public information. Craig will focus on litigation that has shut down the progress on the jail.