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GBI probes allegations of jury tampering in Bulloch County civil suit
Statesboro contractor said property owner didnt pay for extra work on condo development
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        Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents are looking into allegations of jury tampering that led to a recent mistrial regarding a civil suit filed more than seven years ago.
        Bulloch County Superior Court Judge Gates Peed declared a mistrial in the civil suit filed by Dabbs-Williams General Contractors LLC against Tillman Park LLC and T. Holmes Ramsey Jr., according to Bulloch County Clerk of Courts records. Peed called the mistrial on Oct. 22, the third day of the trial.
        The civil suit was filed Aug 30, 2007, and lingered in the court system until October, when it went to trial. Peed’s secretary, Paula White, said the judge would not comment on why he declared a mistrial, citing an ongoing investigation as the reason he would not elaborate.
        Statesboro GBI Special Agent-in-Charge Catherine Sapp confirmed last week that GBI agents are investigating allegations of jury tampering. She also said she could not divulge further details, as the case is ongoing.
        Neither Matt McCoy, a Savannah attorney representing Ramsey, nor Dan Snipes, a Statesboro attorney representing Dabbs-Williams, would comment on the case. Both denied knowing details about the trial and say their clients have not been questioned by GBI agents or anyone regarding alleged jury tampering.
        McCoy said, “All we were told in court was that there is evidence of jury tampering,” and that is the reason for a mistrial. He said some other attorneys pushed the issue, but the judge would give nothing further.
        Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Richard Mallard also said he could not discuss the case because it is an ongoing investigation.
        McCoy said no indication of who was responsible for the jury tampering was given when Peed declared the mistrial.
        In the suit, Dabbs-Williams claimed Ramsey did not keep a verbal agreement to pay for extra work done on a project that went beyond conditions of a contract.
        According to the suit, Dabbs-Williams began work on Tillman Park, a condominium development on Tillman Road, in 2005. The suit claims Dabbs-Williams and Ramsey initially agreed that the contractor would be paid on a “cost-plus” basis with Dabbs-Williams’ construction services fee being 8 percent of costs incurred for labor, materials and other expenses.
        A contract dated May 16, 2006, stated the same, but inserted a maximum contract price of $6,761,000. That contract did not include work performed beyond the conditions outlined by that contract, according to the suit.
        Ramsey began to request changes to units such as additions of fire places, changes in flooring, etc. “beyond the scope of work” in the contract. Those changes were separate from the work in the contract, the suit states.
        Ramsey verbally assured Dabbs-Williams that the contractor would be compensated for extra changes and additions, although the contract limits were exhausted. The suit alleges that Ramsey failed to honor those oral agreements and that the company was not paid for change orders and additional work.
        “The defendants have acted in bad faith, have been stubbornly litigious and have caused Dabbs-Williams unnecessary trouble and expense,” the suit reads.
        The court document accuses Ramsey of breach of contract, listing the costs of additional work above and beyond the contracted work as $1,165,325 plus interest.
        The “defendants have received the benefits of the work performed by Dabbs-Williams on the project and accepted, used and enjoyed these valuable services. Despite demand, defendants have failed and refused to pay Dabbs-Williams the costs thereof,” the suit reads.
        “Defendant Ramsey’s representations that he would pay for all the change orders and additional work were false and known to be false by Ramsey at the times these statements were made.”
        A claim of lien against the Tillman Park project was filed by Dabbs-Williams in June 2007. According to the suit, Dabbs-Williams requested a trial by jury.
        Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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