Mayor Wants Rid Of Port Authority
30 September 2013
By Ian Hicks, Staff Writer
WEIRTON - Mayor George Kondik is asking state officials to
dissolve the Weirton Area Port Authority, citing concerns over
lawsuits involving alleged non-payment of vendors.
Kondik wrote a letter to West Virginia Public Port Authority
Executive Director James D. York dated Sept. 17 that requests the
state authority board take action to dissolve the local port
authority when it meets Wednesday. It cites concerns including
"various lawsuits, reports of allegations of non-payment or
delinquent payment to vendors ... and ... misrepresentations of
the work being completed and the authority" of the local port
Kondik on Friday confirmed he wrote the letter to York, but
declined to comment further. His request comes months after City
Council unanimously passed a resolution in May, asking the state
authority to take a closer look into the operations of the local
The Weirton port is a three-pronged public-private partnership
consisting of Tri-State Port Management, a for-profit corporation
formed to leverage private investment; the Weirton Area Port
Authority Inc., a non-profit eligible to receive public grant
funding; and the Weirton Area Port Authority, a political
subdivision of the state that answers to the West Virginia Public
Port Authority, which is a division of the West Virginia
Department of Transportation.
Weirton Area Port Authority Chairman B.J. DeFelice said Friday he
believes Kondik's request is misplaced, because the allegations of
non-payment involve the non-profit Weirton Area Port Authority
Inc., not the volunteer Weirton Area Port Authority board, which
he said was not involved in negotiations between the corporation
and service providers.
He also believes it is premature because the disputes in question
have yet to be resolved.
"In development projects, there are always disagreements in
certain areas. ... Just because there's a dispute doesn't mean
that the political subdivision has done anything incorrectly,"
Last year, Citynet of Bridgeport, W.Va., filed suit against
Weirton Area Port Authority Inc. in Hancock County Circuit Court,
alleging non-payment of more than $220,000 for work done on a
fiber optic network. That lawsuit remains pending.
Kokosing Construction of Westerville, Ohio, also had placed a lien
against the port authority for more than $500,000 for earthwork
done at the port terminal at Half Moon Industrial Park.
Earlier this month, it filed suit against the owners of the
property, which the port authority is leasing, though the Weirton
Area Port Authority is not named in that lawsuit.
If any vendor was not paid, DeFelice said, it was due to poor
performance or the vendor's failure to follow its contract with
the port authority.
Though the non-profit is eligible to receive public grant funding,
DeFelice said the port authority is now operating solely with
According to DeFelice, the Weirton port's objective is to boost
area infrastructure to encourage job creation in the area. It
supplies water and electricity for World Point Terminals'
680,000-barrel canopy unloading facility for petroleum products at
Half Moon, and is working with other partners in the oil and gas,
steel and agriculture industries, he said.