Wayne Co. commissioner wants jail contractor held accountable - KMSP-TV

Wayne Co. commissioner wants jail contractor held accountable

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Wayne County Commissioner Ilona Varga Wayne County Commissioner Ilona Varga
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Bob Ficano was supposed to present options to the Wayne County Commission about the unfinished jail Wednesday, but that meeting was unexpectedly canceled.

Rumors of behind-the-scene deals abound, the details of which will soon emerge. However, one county commissioner said the solution to this is quite simple.

"I know what I want to do. I want to hold the contractor accountable and sue him if we have to or sue everybody involved and get it going again," said Ilona Varga.

She is not giving up on the unfinished jail project. She said the contractor, Walbridge, made a promise to commissioners, and she wants it kept.

"He sat in front of us and said I can do this for this," Varga explained. "He said he would eat it if he came over budget. I believed him."

Now taxpayers are on the hook for it. The project went $100 million over budget before Ficano pulled the plug on construction last month.

Delaying the meeting with commissioners will give Ficano's administration more time to vet proposals for the jail site. You have heard about a few of the options. They include a soccer stadium, condos and shopping centers, but sources said there are more proposals on the table. It's possible negotiations are taking place now.

Even so, Varga is not on board with any of the proposals she has heard so far.

"If they can't give us exactly what we have put into it, then it's not a good deal for the county. I don't care what the project is," the commissioner said.

As for taking legal action against the contractor, a Wayne County spokeswoman said it's too early to talk about suing anyone.

The Wayne County Commission will meet next Wednesday to hear Ficano's pitch on what to do with the jail project.

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