McDonnell and City Attorney Charles Boddy deflected a question from Budget Committee Chairman Daniel Rivera about how much the city and school district are likely to recover. Boddy said the issue should be discussed behind closed doors because “it involves an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of our case.”
Councilor Roger Twomey posed a wider question the two lawyers.
“Have we learned from any of this?” Twomey asked. “Could any of this have been avoided?”
McDonnell noted that Peabody Construction, the general contractor, was the low-bidder on the Guilmette project when the school was built. He also noted that the city hired Peabody even though at the time it was suing it for other public projects it had done in Lawrence. The company went out of business after the Guilmette project, but has since reincorporated, allowing the city to sue it.
“We’re looking at contracts and bidding documents much more closely,” Boddy added. “It’s been an eye-opening experience on the city side. We’re working to have something like this never happen again. We rely on our experts. When they let us down, we suffer the consequences.”