Manatee County Port Authority files $12 million in claims against HRK

skennedy@bradenton.comDecember 29, 2012 

MANATEE -- The Manatee County Port Authority has filed $12 million in claims against HRK Holdings LLC, as part of the company's Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy case, according to court documents.

The claims stem from delays to a dredging project the port had undertaken last year, in which HRK had contracted with the port to store dredged materials in a former gypsum stack at Piney Point.

However, leaks developed in the system, sending almost 170 million gallons of contaminated water cascading into neighborhoods around the port and ultimately, into Bishop Harbor.

Among the damages the port authority claimed were more than $2.8 million for lost profits/loss of use damages arising from the 2011 leaks and flooding; $4.1 million in third-party damages from delays to the dredging project; $89,000 in remediation damages for removal of silt and sand in canals around the port as a result of the flooding; insurance

damages of $12,243.62 for HRK's failure to pay its half of insurance premiums; and $6,135.68 in miscellaneous damages, court documents said.

The attorney representing HRK, Scott A. Stichter, was unavailable for comment Friday. The attorney for the port, Kevin Hennessy, declined comment on the matter.

Among other claims are one for $750,000 from Providence Logistics Inc., of Tampa; $326,056.94 from Ardaman & Associates, Inc., of Orlando; $1,219,601.84 from Xylem DeWatering Solutions, Inc., of Bridgeport, N.J.; and two claims, one for $479,124.55 and other for $750,000, from Spectrum Underground, Inc., of Sarasota, court documents said.

In a monthly schedule of receipts and disbursements HRK submitted to the court at the end of last month, it listed payment of sale proceeds to Regions Bank in the amount of $5,941,999.01.

Last month, the company closed on a land sale involving Air Products & Chemicals Inc., a Pennsylvania manufacturer that has already started work on a new plant across U.S. 41 from the port.

Thursday, HRK's attorneys filed a request for an emergency hearing by Jan. 3 to borrow additional funds, "which are necessary to allow the debtors to continue to operate," court documents state.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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