Feds Called out in Fracas over 9/11 Memorial Land

By Erin Mcauley Courthouse News Service

Flight 93 walkway

Walking at Flight 93 Memorial

The National Park Service must resolve claims that it still owes money for Pennsylvania land purchased to build the Flight 93 National Memorial, a federal judge ruled.

Construction of the project, located at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Stonycreek, Pa., remains ongoing, but a memorial plaza and other features are open to the public. About an hour and a half outside Pittsburgh, the memorial pays tribute to the 40 passengers and crew who thwarted al-Qaida’s attack against the Capitol on September 11, 2001.

In acquiring property for the site, the National Park Service signed a contract with The Rollock Co., a scrap-metal company owned by Anthony and Christopher Kordell, in August 2009.

That deal included the purchase of Rollock’s inventory for a little more than $2 million, and specified that the agency would pay for the monitoring costs and relocation expenses of Rollock’s self-move of business and personal property, including embedded materials, to a new location.

The Kordells and Rollock Co., nevertheless claimed in a 2012 lawsuit that the service had reneged on paying for monitor supervision and relocation costs for the process of relocating their facility.

Payment disputes allegedly began in 2010 when Rollock demanded more for monitoring services.

Claiming that “delays in securing necessary permits” made monitoring unnecessary for certain dates or any dates of service after June 24, 2010, the agency refused reimbursement on such services that September.

Rollock submitted invoices for monitoring services through November 2010 and it said that the service failed to properly reimburse self-move costs over a topsoil ownership transfer.

That deal involved Rollock accepting a $1 payment for 4,500 cubic yards of soil sold to a government contractor to use for the new memorial, because Rollock did not technically own the topsoil at the time of its relocation.

U.S. District Judge Charles Lettow with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims remanded the case to the agency Friday, finding that it “did not act on a number of Rollock’s claims, and, when it did act, it left salient matters unresolved.”

“NPS should further develop the factual record and definitely act Rollock’s claims,” the opinion states, abbreviating the agency’s name.

Rollock’s complaint alleged violations of the Contract Disputes Act and Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act.

The Washington Times reported that Rollock was one of several property owners from which the government bought land to develop the memorial.

It noted that another federal judge ruled days earlier “in a separate dispute over the price of a 275-acre piece of property purchased for the Flight 93 site.”

“In that case, the previous owner, Michael Svonavec, argued the land the federal government condemned was worth more than $20 million,” the article states. “The government paid $611,000.

“In her ruling last week, U.S. District Court Judge Donetta Ambrose, of the Western District of Pennsylvania, ruled the value was about $1.5 million.

“That’s the same price estimated by a court-ordered commission appointed to appraise the property, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.”

This entry was posted in 9/11 Memorials. Bookmark the permalink.