Sim Scott work leaves questions for city leaders

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The Sim Scott Community Center is the gathering place for this northside neighborhood.

When it was destroyed in 2019 there was a movement to rebuild it as quickly as possible.

The building was completed earlier this year for a reported cost of nine hundred thousand dollars that the city was hoping FEMA would be reimbursed.
But that could be in jeopardy.

As each beam and column went up, people in the Sim Scott neighborhood saw hope after the devastating EF-3 tornado ripped through Columbus.

Now, documents obtained by WCBI show the project could cause the city of Columbus serious trouble.

State law says any public project over $50,000 to have a request for proposals. Sim Scott was about $900,000.

There’s no RFP that can be found for portions of the rebuild.

Projects that cost more than $5,000 require two quotes.

These documents show nine different construction projects paid to the same company for steel beams, columns, rafters, metal studs, interior framing, brick trim, downspouts, installation of metal canopies, along with roll-up doors and level locks.

There’s also a $14,000 bill for the erection of the 92 hundred square foot building.

Our sources tell us this work is usually done under one contractor for the entire project through a competitive bidding process.

The city was eligible to be reimbursed over one million dollars for this project.

With some possible irregularities in the purchasing process, it makes getting the FEMA money more complicated, if not impossible.

Mayor Keith Gaskin says he contacted the State Auditor’s office earlier this week when the irregularities were found.

He says he made the decision after consulting with the city’s accounting firm and city attorney.

Gaskin tells WCBI he remains committed to being transparent and investigating any irregularities that are found.

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