Author: Dale Liesch

Federal judge tosses discrimination case against city

A United States District Court judge has found for the city of Mobile and the Mobile County Personnel Board (MCPB) in a lawsuit claiming racial and gender discrimination in the Parks and Recreation Department. In an order dated Jan. 31, Judge Kristi DuBose entered a summary judgment for the city and against Katrina Frazier, a longtime Parks and Recreation Department employee. In the suit, Frazier argued that she was passed over for a series of promotions because of both racial and gender discrimination, as well as in retaliation for filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the city....

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Assessment shows $200 million in maintenance costs at city owned properties

Property owned by the city of Mobile could cost $200 million in maintenance over the next 10 years, members of the Mobile City Council learned Tuesday afternoon. Commercial real estate firm CBRE presented councilors with the results of a facilities assessment Tuesday, following the regularly scheduled council meeting. The $200 million in expected maintenance comes from $83 million in deferred maintenance to get city owned structures up to acceptable measures, CBRE Executive Vice President Michael McShea told councilors. Of that, $25 million would go to the 53-year-old Mobile Civic Center. Another $117 million comes from projected routine maintenance, he...

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Mobile council approves extension of sales tax increase

The city’s sales tax rate will stand at 10 percent for the foreseeable future, after Mobile city councilors approved an extension of a 1-cent sales tax increase for another five years. The extension, by a 6-1 vote, gives the council a funding stream for its popular Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) until Sept. 30, 2023. Councilwoman Bess Rich voted against the extension and was instead in favor of a recommendation from an ad hoc committee she chaired that would replace the current sales tax increase with a combination of a garbage fee and a 10-mill property tax increase. The state...

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Letter seeks plaintiffs in potential lawsuit against GAF

A local law firm has teamed up with a Michigan-based class action firm seeking plaintiffs for a possible lawsuit against Mobile roofing tile manufacturer GAF Materials Corp. A letter from the firm of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey sent to a number of residents near the facility on Emogene Street in midtown said the firm was partnering with Liddle & Dubin in Detroit to “investigate the possibility of a filing litigation against GAF Materials Corp. for the emission of noxious odors.” “Due to your proximity to GAF Materials Corp., you may have experienced odors associated with this neighboring facility,” the...

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GulfQuest slowly paying back vendors as attendance struggles

Despite growing concerns from its creditors, the board of trustees for the GulfQuest Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico has been cutting into its debt, Chairman Mike Lee said last week. Lee said the board has paid off about half — or nearly $1 million — of its reported $1.8 million debt. Those payments have gone mostly to creditors owed smaller amounts of money, including this newspaper. “We’ve reached out to all our creditors,” Lee said. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.” The board is still working with some of its larger creditors, including the companies...

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Field work on bridge project could begin as early as Ash Wednesday

The Mobile River Bridge project will take another step forward after Mardi Gras, according to a statement released today from the Alabama Department of Transportation. ALDOT will begin field work along the Interstate 10 corridor in preparation of a foundation load test program for the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project. Construction crews will begin mobilizing the week of February 5. Pile driving may begin as early as Wednesday, Feb. 14. A limited number of test piles will be driven at various locations along the proposed project corridor. Varying types and size foundation piling and drilled shafts will be...

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New Airbus aircraft completes maiden flight; to be produced in Mobile

Airbus’ first A321LR (Long Range) has accomplished its maiden flight Wednesday following a two-hour-and-36-minute mission. The new aircraft will be assembled at the company’s final assembly line in Mobile starting in 2019. The aircraft, powered by CFM Leap-1A engines, is now set to undergo a nearly 100-hour flight test program, including trans-Atlantic missions. Entry into service is targeted for the end of this year. The aircraft’s crew comprised experimental test pilots Yann Beaufils and Peter Lofts, as well as flight test engineers Frank Hohmeister, Jim Fawcett and Cedric Favrichon and cabin specialist Alexander Gentzsch. During the flight, the crew...

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Former Prichard employee arrested for theft

A former assistant to Prichard Mayor Jimmy Gardner was arrested today on 17 counts of theft. James Antuan Blackman was taken into custody at the office of Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich and will be transported to Mobile Metro Jail, according to a statement. Gardner announced Blackman’s termination earlier this month after “irregularities” were found during an audit of city finances. According to Gardner, Blackman worked for the city of Prichard for a little more than a year before he was suspended without pay on Wednesday, Jan. 10. He said Blackmon was ultimately terminated the following day via...

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