In a filing submitted last week with the Gulf County Clerk of Courts last week, the Board of County Commissioners seeks dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Waste Pro in June.

Over more than 80 pages, including maps, exhibits and addendums, county attorney Jeremy Novak argued that any breach of contract, as alleged by Waste Pro, was on the company’s part, contending that the company filed the suit with, in legal vernacular, “unclean hands.”

A hearing is scheduled Sept. 24 before Circuit Judge Dustin Stephenson.

The lawsuit centers on a transfer station Waste Pro constructed at the Five Points landfill under the terms of its 2014 contract with the county for solid waste services and a supplemental agreement the following year.

The supplemental agreement was crafted after the company was delayed in constructing the transfer station and entrance road.

In its lawsuit, Waste Pro asserted that after the county awarded a new solid waste contract to another vendor last year, the county assumed control of the transfer station June 1 without paying for it and leased the station to the new vendor for monthly payments.

The company asserted a dispute arose over how much the county would pay for the transfer station, focused on the concept of net book value, and the county violated the contract by not paying fair value for the transfer station.

In his brief, Novak wrote there never was any agreement to purchase the transfer station.

The contract contained a clause only offering the county an “option” to purchase the station when and if the contract with the company ended.

In the contract, the price of construction was earmarked by Waste Pro at $600,000; Waste Pro contended after the contract was let to another vendor that the $600,000 was an estimate and the station actually cost more than $1 million.

But, in his motion to dismiss, Novak argued the county sought paperwork demonstrating the cost of the transfer station for years without receiving any documentation until shortly before the contract was due to expire.

That documentation was insufficient, Novak argued.

As to the transfer station construction, Novak wrote that “after significant delays of approximately two years into the five year agreement, the transfer station was constructed (438 days after its contracted completed date) but it failed to meet specifications.”

“During the life of the contracts between the parties, the transfer station was subjected to a substantial fire in the facility as well as a category five hurricane.”

After the fire, the transfer station never had water, electric or exhaust fans and despite Waste Pro having responsibility to repair the station, under terms of the contract, the transfer station was never repaired, Novak wrote.

Novak argued allegations of breach of contract by Waste Pro must be dismissed because there was no breach: the county simply did not exercise its option to buy the transfer station as detailed in the service agreement.

Another count alleging bad faith in dealing, Novak also argued that the county could not be breach for declining to exercise its option when the service agreement detailed the cost at $600,000 but Waste Pro wanted the “exorbitant” amount of $1 million.

Based on the filings, the county offered various compromises, going as high as $500,000, but each offer was spurned by Waste Pro.

In its complaint, Waste Pro argued it had made several offers of compromise but was rebuffed by the county.

“Because there was no express obligation to purchase the transfer facility, there can be no breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealings,” Novak wrote.

Finally, Novak addressed allegations concerning use of the transfer station after the contract with Waste Pro had expired, which occurred briefly before Waste Pro dismantled the station.

The service agreement, Novak wrote, detailed that any property left by Waste Pro on county land, which Five Points is, would be forfeited or disposed without compensation if not removed if and when the contract with the county ended.

Waste Pro voluntarily left the transfer station behind at the end of the contract, Novak wrote, before subsequently demolishing it.

“Additionally, by Waste Pro’s own admission in the complaint, it has not demanded return of the transfer station because ‘demand for the transfer station would be futile in that it would require demolition’… However, after initiating this action, Waste Pro did remove the transfer station…

“As such, because the only thing Waste Pro seeks is money damages for the transfer station, this cause of action is redundant and inappropriate…”

The lawsuit and brouhaha over the transfer station followed a five-year contract during which commissioners continually complained over the delays on the transfer station and entrance road, missed routes and customers, leaking trucks, etc.

Over the course of the contract, the county collected more than $35,000 in fines from Waste Pro for breaches of the contract.

The county has applied for $500,000 in federal infrastructure funds to build a new transfer station.