City may sue over St. James contractPublished 10:38pm Saturday, September 21, 2013
By Josh Bergeron
The Selma Times-Journal
The Selma City Council is considering a lawsuit against Gourmet Services after the company allegedly left the historic St. James Hotel in shambles.
The Atlanta-based company company quit managing the city-owned hotel in July, ending their five-year contract after only six months. Gourmet Services began managing the hotel in 2007 and renewed its contract in January.
In the initial contract, Gourmet Services paid the city $100 per month. After renewing the contract, the city charged Gourmet Services $500 per month to lease the hotel.
Since Aug. 1, volunteers have run the hotel and city council members have slowly discovered problems with the hotel, Ward 1 Councilman Cecil Williamson said.
“Has someone actually done a survey on what’s missing and what’s wrong,” Williamson asked during the council’s work session Thursday. “We ought to go after (Gourmet Services). I think that we should at least file against them to prevent them from using the company for anything else.”
After the meeting, Williamson described problems with the hotel.
“Air conditioners are missing, rooms are unable to be rented, window frames are rotting and the building was not left in the same condition they received it in,” he said.
Williamson suggested filing a suit against Gourmet Services that includes damages and any leftover bills. And Williamson isn’t the only one.
Ward 4 Councilwoman Angela Benjamin said she would like to see a lawsuit filed by the end of 2014 that, at minimum, includes damages.
“At all costs you want to avoid lawsuits with someone you do business with, but at this point it is necessary because of the way they transitioned,” Benjamin said.
“We don’t know what is actually missing; some things that we thought were missing are actually in a storage room.”