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North Carolina contractor settles dispute with airport

A North Carolina contractor that was fired from a runway reconstruction project at an out-of-state airport has settled its financial dispute with the airport's overseers. Though the contractor once sought $2.5 million in damages, it has agreed to pay nearly $690,000 to end the matter.

In June 2010, the contractor, Rifenburg Construction Inc. of Durham, submitted the winning bid to repair one of the runways at Jackson-Medger Wiley Evers International Airport in Mississippi. The runway had become warped due to the clay used as the foundation underneath the asphalt.

The runway was shut down to air traffic and Rifenburg went to work. But before the project could be completed the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, which oversees the airport's operations, halted construction. It said that the asphalt workers were using on the runway did not meet the standards laid out in the contract. Rifenburg responded that the airport authority was using asphalt tests not approved in the contract. With the dispute unsettled, the contractor took the case to arbitration on Nov. 8, 2011, seeking $2.5 million in damages and expenses.

Less than two weeks later, the airport authority voted to find Rifenburg in default, essentially firing the company, and reopen bidding on the runway project. It hired another contractor and work is expected to be completed in March.

While in the midst of arbitration, the two sides negotiated a settlement. In exchange for rescinding the termination, the airport authority will receive $686,910 from Rifenburg. Other details of the settlement are confidential, according to Rifenburg's attorney.

Source: The Associated Press, "Work resumes at Jackson Airport after contractor dispute settled," Nov. 1, 2012

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