JFK vendors look to IBC for payments
by Krystal Paco
Guam - Contractor International Bridge Corporation is not only guilty of not completing the John F. Kennedy High School project on time, but they haven't paid many of their vendors and subcontractors for the project, either. "Right now the business is tough, hard economic times. I hope we get paid soon, we need the money," said Net PC Guam computer technician and manager Arnel Jumalon.
He says IBC has an outstanding balance of more than $1,200. Net PC Guam is a locally-owned small business that offers computer and office supplies as well as computer services, repair, and networking. "Papers, toner, inks - how would they operate without the office supplies?" he questioned. Jumalon has tried on several occasions to contact IBC via phone, but with no success.
"I haven't spoken to them through the phone because whenever we call their local number or whoever to contact with, they don't answer. The last time one of our employees tried to get a hold of them they gave us a number in Kansas. We thought that IBC was locally owned and operating here, all of a sudden now we have to contact somebody in Kansas."
In desperation, Jumalon contacted the Department of Public Works and the Guam Economic Development Authority. According to DPW deputy director Carl Dominguez, Net PC Guam is one of a handful of vendors looking for payment from IBC. According to Attorney Shawn Hicks, IBC has yet to pay his client Snaptex, a company that specializes in acoustical stretched fabric for walls, ceilings, and other interior surfaces.
Hicks says his client worked on the JFK High project in good faith and is not aware of any deficiencies in the workmanship. Hicks adds that IBC continues to give excuses and stories, but has yet to pay a penny. Morrico Equipment may have been paid for the sales, rental, parts and their heavy equipment services, but according to vice president Torgun Smith, IBC owes GovGuam $30,000 in tipping fees.
JFK assistant principal Hannah Gutierrez says it was never brought to the JFK community's attention that vendors and subcontractors were working without proper pay, noting, "In any project, I believe if people aren't getting paid they aren't going to be able to have access to supplies and materials that maybe the company needs. It might be an issue as to why some of the work around here is not being completed. As a community for JFK, we just want some projects done and completed based on the contract."
These projects include the incomplete tennis courts, the incomplete gymnasium and dance room, and hundreds of other items that need to be addressed throughout the campus. School owners Capital Projects Finance Authority are now on island to help expedite the completion of the school.