Local News

Oct 4, 2013 10:28 PM by Mike Manzoni -- mmanzoni@kristv.com

Man, City Still At Odds Over Sewer Leak Repairs

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Nearly two weeks after a sewer line ruptured causing raw sewage to flood Jose Vera's house, he still hasn't worked out a deal with the city to get his floors and some of his walls replaced.

Raw sewage flooded Vera's Cheryl Street house after something went wrong while city crews were working on a nearby sewer line Sept. 24. Vera said the city promised to fix the damages at its expense, but he said officials are now stalling.

He said city officials postponed a meeting set for Friday afternoon, citing the employee who issues checks was out sick, but he believes it was probably a stall tactic.

"It's been horrible," he said. "It's been a lot of pressure on me and my wife and my entire family."

Although the city covered the $2,000 it cost for a professional cleaning crew to remove the sewage, Vera said his house still smells and mold has started growing on his floors and around his shower drain.

Vera is staying in a hotel at the city's expense while it tries to reach an agreement on how much it should pay Vera for repairs, but it doesn't appear that he and the city are close on the figures.

Vera said his contractor estimated the damages at $57,000, but he said the city wants to settle for $28,000, about half.

Donna James-Spruce, the city's risk manager who handles these kinds of cases, wouldn't comment on Vera's specific case, but said if both parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case usually goes to mediation in which both parties split the attorney's fees.

James-Spruce said the statutory cap on the amount for which the city is liable is $100,000.

"I think what they're doing is trying to wait me out; [they think] maybe I'll give in."

Vera is scheduled to meet with city officials Monday.

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