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Hattiesburg hires counsel to handle complaint

HATTIESBURG — A long-lingering dispute between the city of Hattiesburg and commercial property owners over discontinued sewer service will go to trial in July of 2015 in Forrest County Circuit Court.

The Hattiesburg American reports the city hired the Hicks Law Firm.

The incident that led to a complaint filed by Bryan Saliba and Dennis Pierce dates back to July of 2006.

The complaint alleges then-City Engineer Bennie Sellers approached Saliba and asked whether a city-supplied sewer line to the property at 126 Westover Drive could be disconnected while the Hilton Garden Inn was being built.

The complaint says that conversation constituted a verbal contract.

In the interim, the city supplied a septic tank to be used at 126 Westover while construction on the hotel took place. The Inn opened in August 2007, and held its grand opening that October. The project was signed off on in August 2008.

The complaint says that Saliba and Pierce repeatedly asked the city from 2009 to 2013 to reconnect the sewer line to their property, but the city replied that it was “waiting for bond financing to build a sewer line in order to reconnect the property to the city sewer line as promised in 2006.”

The complaint also alleges that a vacuum truck that emptied the on-site septic tank not only damaged the drive and parking lot at the property but also the lawn where it was situated. The complaint says the agreement with the city required the truck to drain the tank from the street.

The complaint, which was filed in July 2013, alleges an array of sins committed by the city, including breach of contract and property damage.

The city has denied the allegations in the complaint.



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