MetroPlex, Girard reach water deal
By Robert Guttersohn
The water is back on at the MetroPlex after the facility’s management and Girard officials reached a deal on past-due water bills.
The city offered to restart the service if MetroPlex owners Aswin Ganapathy Hospitality Inc. paid $12,000 of the more than $13,000 that it owed, which it did Tuesday, said Jerry Lambert, Girard’s service director.
Despite that, MetroPlex manager Dr. Indira Sammy said she is planning a class-action lawsuit against the city for the loss of business during the last water outage Feb. 23.
Aswin filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court with it as the sole plaintiff.
After the deal with Girard was reached, the hearing scheduled for Wednesday on the suit was canceled, Sammy said, but the complaint against Girard was not withdrawn.
“We are in discussion with other [Liberty-area] hotels to see how much revenue was lost during the last waterline break,” Sammy said.
Earlier in March, Girard claims that MetroPlex switched two water valves and bypassed a meter. Lambert said the bypass could not have happened by accident and went on for at least two months. MetroPlex denies having taken the water.
A letter from the city to MetroPlex called for a payment by March 15 of more than $13,000 or face shutoff, and civil and criminal sanctions. Included in that amount is $2,600 for the two months MetroPlex reportedly took water, the letter said.
When the company failed to pay, the city shut off the MetroPlex’s water the first time Monday. By Monday afternoon, the water was back on after the owner’s paid the city $8,000.
It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that Girard realized the check was postdated for April 1.
“That was not part of the agreement,” said Girard Mayor James Melfi of the postdated check, which prompted the city to once again turn off MetroPlex’s water until a deal was reached Tuesday.
In the original lawsuit Aswin filed Tuesday, the company claims the February waterline break cost them $10,000 in business after it had to refund rent for a conference scheduled for that day. In addition to that incident, the business claims it experienced periods with low water pressure and water lines clogged with sediment.
“That’s what we have insurance for,” Lambert said of her complaints. “If you have some sediments, let [the water] run for a little bit. If it doesn’t clear, call and let us check it out. But she never calls.”
Lambert said civil or criminal sanctions against MetroPlex management were not addressed during negotiations and he would not comment on whether Girard planned to pursue them.