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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:19 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1354
Charlie wrote:
Wow, that was fast service!

I am curious about his claim that Inland Environments owns the locomotive when the city is adamant that they retain ownership.


Yes, I too would like to hear an explanation for the conflicting claims of ownership of 503. Jason says "it takes no brain power" to conclude that Inland owns the locomotive. What is it that makes their ownership so apparently obvious?


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:15 am
Posts: 497
Ron Travis wrote:
Charlie wrote:
Wow, that was fast service!

I am curious about his claim that Inland Environments owns the locomotive when the city is adamant that they retain ownership.


Yes, I too would like to hear an explanation for the conflicting claims of ownership of 503. Jason says "it takes no brain power" to conclude that Inland owns the locomotive. What is it that makes their ownership so apparently obvious?


Signed work order/contract would be the answer.

Payment for the remediation of the site included the funds recouped through the scrapping of the locomotive (by Inland) to pay for services rendered. When the City of P A issued the work order, ownership of the locomotive transferred to Inland Environments. If the ownership didn't transfer to Inland, then legally, they would be unable to touch the locomotive with the wrecking ball they brought to make it more portable. Add to that, they wouldn't be able to remove the contaminated soil until the locomotive was removed from the site.

Rich C.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:21 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:31 pm
Posts: 43
Mr. Sobczynski and Mr. Hovey,

I'm only a small donor but I have a simple suggestion, make the following offer to the city and its residents through all channels including directly to the city council: Once the engine is running and in service pulling passengers, each resident is welcome to one free ride with proof of residency. I think it can be worked into any future contract and resolves the issue that residents are losing an artifact.

It could be a low cost a solution that provides all parties with a face saving out.

Sincerely,

Art S.

PS. Cameron Wolk, it seems that you are getting the government and media oversight you were seeking. I suspect this may not be the result you had in mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:28 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 563
crij wrote:
Signed work order/contract would be the answer.

Payment for the remediation of the site included the funds recouped through the scrapping of the locomotive (by Inland) to pay for services rendered. When the City of P A issued the work order, ownership of the locomotive transferred to Inland Environments.
Unfortunately, I believe Rich is incorrect.

I am not an attorney, but my work has taught me a tiny bit about contracting with government agencies. I did a little googling and found this quote on page 45 of the 2013 Texas Municipal Procurement Laws Made Easy (PDF):
Quote:
"If a city enters into a contract without complying with the requirements of Chapter 252 of the Local Government Code, the contract is void."
From comments posted earlier in the thread, it appears to me that the work order did not follow those requirements, so it is likely void.... and if that work order is void, then the transfer of the locomotive to Inland is also void.

If case someone wants to read the specific law, here's link to Chapter 252 of the Local Government Code posted on state.tx.us


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:30 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1354
crij wrote:
Ron Travis wrote:
Charlie wrote:
Wow, that was fast service!

I am curious about his claim that Inland Environments owns the locomotive when the city is adamant that they retain ownership.


Yes, I too would like to hear an explanation for the conflicting claims of ownership of 503. Jason says "it takes no brain power" to conclude that Inland owns the locomotive. What is it that makes their ownership so apparently obvious?


Signed work order/contract would be the answer.

Payment for the remediation of the site included the funds recouped through the scrapping of the locomotive (by Inland) to pay for services rendered. When the City of P A issued the work order, ownership of the locomotive transferred to Inland Environments. If the ownership didn't transfer to Inland, then legally, they would be unable to touch the locomotive with the wrecking ball they brought to make it more portable. Add to that, they wouldn't be able to remove the contaminated soil until the locomotive was removed from the site.

Rich C.


This work order would have been a contract between Inland Environmental and the City. Has either of those two entities presented this contract for review by the public or any third party? In other words, can anybody verify that the agreement you describe actually was executed? I would have no reason to ask these questions if it were not for the fact that the City claims they are now the sole owner and always have been.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1728
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
The good news is that Jason & Company succeeded in stopping this engine being reduced to scrap at the very last second.

The bad news is the whole thing is now in free fall and could well end poorly.

Jason's letter to the City of Port Arthur as linked on the Go Fund Me page is loaded with poor language and missing words. I will PM him with suggested corrections.

Jason's comments as contained in the just published PA News ( link provided in post above) in which he takes the City of PA to task are ill advised at best, and will only make enemies on the City Council, not friends.

As to the "ownership" issue, who knows where the truth lies. It would certainly make sense that the scrapper would not have commenced his operations until/unless he had a signed contract, a part of which would have granted him " ownership" of the 503 in return for his getting rid of the asbestos, cutting up the 503 and hauling away the pieces and then remediating the soil where she sat.

However, for him to have had a signed contract from the City of PA would be exhibit A that the City had violated the law/rules and issued a contract of " substance" without public hearing/input and a formal resolution & vote by the City Council.

You can't have it both ways. Either they did a quiet , back door deal to get rid of an eye sore no one cared about and gave the scrapper a signed contract in violation of their own rules,....... or they didn't.

My strong guess is they did, and now that they've been caught with their pants down they'll do everything possible to find a way to get out of it with minimal political damage.

Listening to the one Council member who went on and on about how the City had not " made any deals" and " this train ain't going nowhere" I was reminded of the old truth that the guilty often make the loudest noise.

I will write an open letter to City Council encouraging them to let Jason& Company take ownership so they can move it to the Texas State RR for safe keeping. At least that way it has some chance of eventually getting at least cosmetically restored and who knows against all odds maybe even boil water again someday.

The danger here of course is that the city gets its hackles up and insists on going through with the original plan and scraps the engine so as to show "these outsiders" who is in charge. Hopefully that won't happen.

Time will tell soon enough.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:53 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1354
co614 wrote:
As to the "ownership" issue, who knows where the truth lies. It would certainly make sense that the scrapper would not have commenced his operations until/unless he had a signed contract, a part of which would have granted him " ownership" of the 503 in return for his getting rid of the asbestos, cutting up the 503 and hauling away the pieces and then remediating the soil where she sat.


Ross Rowland


It would indeed make sense that there was a signed contract. BUT how do we know that the contract said what you have detailed above? How do we know that the contract granted Inland title to the locomotive as partial or full payment for the remediation work? How do we know that the contract did not simply agree for the City to pay outright for the first phase of asbestos and oil removal?

How do we know that idea of giving Inland the locomotive as partial payment was not just some informal suggestion tossed up for consideration to possibly be carried out as the work progressed past the initial asbestos and oil removal? That idea may have been nothing more than an informal suggestion that was never committed to in a work contract.

Then after seeing the public reaction the City may have ruled out that informal suggestion about giving up the locomotive as partial payment for the work. If so, they certainly had that right, and Inland would not own the locomotive at this point.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:13 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1728
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Ron, With all due respect that's not how business is done. There's zero chance that Inland ( a well thought of local company that's been in business for decades) would have proceeded without a valid SIGNED contract from the City of Port Arthur.

Inland told Jason that they had been given ownership of the locomotive as payment for the tasks of asbestos removal, ground remediation and site clean up, with the scrap proceeds given to cover Inland's expenses. There's every reason to believe them as that's the only way they would have proceeded.

Now that its become a front page problem I'm sure both Inland and the City wished it weren't so and its entirely possible that Inland will go along and support the City's claim that there "was no deal" as they've got to do business there for the long term....long after the whole 503 issue is forgotten.

Hopefully, somehow it will have a happy ending. Hope springs eternal.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:33 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 353
Location: Danbury, CT
Gonna have to stroke the city’s ego here. Something like....
The preservation community recognizes and appreciates the fact that this locomotive would not have survived without the stewardship of the City and its residents. We also recognize the hardships imposed upon the City over the years and most recently as a result of hurricane Harvey. Furthermore, we understand the responsibility that continued stewardship of an historic artifact such as a steam locomotive brings. We therefore respectfully request the City and its residents allow us the opportunity to assume responsibility for L&A 503’s next stage of life in preservation.

Maybe even offer to honorarily name the locomotive “City of Port Arthur” once restored or something like that as well.

Just some thoughts.

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Randy Patterson
RMNE/NAUG


Last edited by Mount Royal on Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:43 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:27 am
Posts: 492
Location: Winters, TX
As I understand it, the deal was that Inland was paid $24,000 up front with the right to dispose of the locomotive after the remediation had been done. At one point the city believed that the only way to remediate the asbestos was to tear the engine apart, so having Inland remove the pieces afterwards seemed like a good deal. It may be that there was no title transfer involved since we'd be talking about title to a pile of scrap metal.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:17 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1354
co614 wrote:
Ron, With all due respect that's not how business is done. There's zero chance that Inland ( a well thought of local company that's been in business for decades) would have proceeded without a valid SIGNED contract from the City of Port Arthur.

Inland told Jason that they had been given ownership of the locomotive as payment for the tasks of asbestos removal, ground remediation and site clean up, with the scrap proceeds given to cover Inland's expenses. There's every reason to believe them as that's the only way they would have proceeded.

Now that its become a front page problem I'm sure both Inland and the City wished it weren't so and its entirely possible that Inland will go along and support the City's claim that there "was no deal" as they've got to do business there for the long term....long after the whole 503 issue is forgotten.

Hopefully, somehow it will have a happy ending. Hope springs eternal.

Ross Rowland



Ross,

I previously said this:

“It would indeed make sense that there was a signed contract. BUT how do we know that the contract said what you have detailed above? How do we know that the contract granted Inland title to the locomotive as partial or full payment for the remediation work? How do we know that the contract did not simply agree for the City to pay outright for the first phase of asbestos and oil removal?”

Regarding my comment above:

You can see that I never suggested that city had no contract with Inland. My point is that the contract may not include all of the provision about transfer of the locomotive ownership as part or total payment for the remediation work.

The scenario that I am suggesting is that there was a contract in which the city agreed to pay for the removal of the asbestos and oil as has been done so far. That’s all. We keep hearing this narrative of an agreement that includes transfer of title of the locomotive as partial or full payment for the remediation work. Has anybody seen that narrative in the actual contract? That narrative of transferring ownership of the locomotive may have been discussed, but never executed in the contract.

If Inland or the City produces a contract that includes transfer of the locomotive title, then we would know that such a contract exists. But the City’s current claim that they are the sole owner of the locomotive would be perfectly consistent with there being a contract with Inland that does not include transferring the locomotive ownership as payment.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:00 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:38 pm
Posts: 27
Mount Royal wrote:
Gonna have to stroke the city’s ego here. Something like....
The preservation community recognizes and appreciates the fact that this locomotive would not have survived without the stewardship of the City and its residents. We also recognize the hardships imposed upon the City over the years and most recently as a result of hurricane Harvey. Furthermore, we understand the responsibility that continued stewardship of an historic artifact such as a steam locomotive brings. We therefore respectfully request the City and its residents allow us the opportunity to assume responsibility for L&A 503’s next stage of life in preservation.

Maybe even offer to honorarily name the locomotive “City of Port Arthur” once restored or something like that as well.

Just some thoughts.


This is without a doubt the correct statement that should be made.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:04 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 1:21 pm
Posts: 423
Location: Columbus, OH
I must agree with Ross that this appears to be a purely political maneuver on the part of the city in general and Councilman Doucet in particular. Essentially damage control. He presented absolutely no factual backing for his statements and I got the impression that little to no background research had been done prior to his commentary.

However I also agree with Ross that there is absolutely no benefit to antagonizing the city. They hold more cards than Inland at this point, have taxpayer money to back it up legally, and are the customer in the vendor/customer relationship with Inland.

I would strongly advise Jason and Nick to step back and allow the city and Inland to duke it out. Maintain ongoing cordial relations with both while regularly reminding both of their willingness and ability to provide the locomotive a better life than in the hands of either Inland or the city.

Speaking for my modest donation to this effort, I do not want to see my donation put towards any efforts by the city to "preserve" the locomotive. Their track record for care of this relic has been poor and I cannot foresee any great improvement in the future based on their current circumstances. If they want to care for the locomotive they should have to pony up the full cost of proper, ongoing care to demonstrate their commitment, or should admit they are not the best steward and pass her to better caretakers.

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Christopher D. Coleman

http://www.spikesys.com/EBT East Broad Top Homepage
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http://www.ebtrr.com East Broad Top Railroad


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:26 am
Posts: 45
The 503's sad shape is partly a result of the city not over the years spending the needed amount to keep it up.

Perhaps someone should present a budget of what it takes both in one time costs: cosmetic restoration, cover, decorative fence etc. and on going costs: repainting, repairs, re-roofing the cover, etc.

The city should be aware that a decision to keep the 503 will require significant current and ongoing additional expense or they will a another problem in a few years.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:05 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1057
I think it is being overlooked in parts of the above discussion that there is a particular reason why the Inland/Landrey contract was for "$24,000" and that fact is important to raise at the 'public comment' meeting on the 6th. The important considerations are (1) that it comes nowhere near what a professional oil-and-gas remediation contractor would charge for the necessary work, and (2) it is intentionally under the 'cap' of $25,000 at which public hearing or disclosure would be required.

Now, it may well be that 'title to the engine' was never transferred formally. The City may have thought or even declared 503 a nuisance of some kind, and simply stayed quiet about the amount Inland would or could recoup for the HMS resulting from clearing that nuisance away as part of the TCEQ-mandated abatement.

The mayor's own statements on the minimum cost to move the locomotive to remediate 'underneath' come in at nearly twice the amount of the whole contract 'as let' to Inland, which is pretty objective proof that senior officials in Port Arthur understood perfectly what the $24,000 entailed. I don't think he has fully realized that yet, and perhaps it would be impolitic to bring it up as commentary on the 6th.

The really essential point, as I stated only partly tongue-in-cheek earlier, is that the only way to get the abatement done cost-effectively is if Jason et al. bring in the cranes and loaders with full access granted, and lift it (and perhaps the rails and ties) to carry them away. Remember that Inland will still be conducting the balance of the amelioration ... perhaps now not at the sweetheart price and covert terms, so quite a bit of argument shaping up there ... so the cost to the city, at minimum, is the additional scrap value 'foregone' by Inland plus the cost to lay panel track and move the locomotive, and perhaps the amount of fines and other penalties imposed by TCEQ if the new deadline (March 20th) is not met for completion.

What needs to happen at that meeting on the 6th, absent any 'rancor' or threats of the pokey for misfeasance, is the simple point that due entirely to the grandstanding of Port Arthur council members, there are essentially two options in play here: either the city grants title and all required permitting and authorization to Jason and he moves it 'timely' to allow the remediation to be completed, or the city of Port Arthur gets itself on the hook for many thousands of dollars it could muchbetter spend on things its citizens have been shortchanged of. The problem is that Jason is no longer the 'right' person to point this out, having now been bilked not once but twice and then subjected to a campaign of what might easily qualify as attempts at character assassination.

I'd arrange for three or more bids (written if possible) from 'established' scrappers for the amount they would pay for the engine, as-is where-is. (I'll bet if made fairly none of these will even come up to $21K). That, not some theoretical valuation made on noncomparable comps or the folks in Rusk, should be the price offered to get the engine moved. Of course there should be no fee for any permits or other 'requirements to do business with Port Arthur' that will no doubt be sneaking out of the woodwork at the last moment. If Jason cares to sweeten his relationship with the City by allowing more, that would be good -- but the time to coerce payment from the perceived well-heeled, with scrapping the immediate alternative, is now past.

Meanwhile: is the heavy demolition equipment still present adjacent to the locomotive? I'd hate to think of any 'accident' but I lived in New Jersey too long not to see some of the common ways around inconvenient historic preservation...

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