MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Over the last 13 years, getting the new Tubman African American Museum up and running has been a struggle, and Thursday the president of Harmon Construction, Inc.---one of the contractors that was involved that process--revealed he got the boot.
Paul Harmon held a news conference saying the Tubman Board of Directors dropped him from the project, in what he says is a "lack of transparency..." in the ongoing saga of the empty building. He got a letter dated May 17 from Dr. Andy Ambrose, the executive director of the Tubman, saying they no longer needed Harmon's services.
Harmon originally partnered up with Piedmont Contruction to work on the exterior of the building, but they ended that partnership just 5 years ago. Harmon says he never thought he'd be dropped from the project altogether, though. He says it's not fair; that the verbal agreement made between he and the former board of directors 13 years ago should still stand and he and his team should be the ones building the inside of the structure. Right now, Piedmont is the company that will complete the interior.
"I want to understand what's happening," Harmon said at Thursday's news conference. "Certainly, we'd love to be involved in the project, but if not, we would like to know why. We just want a little fairness, and fairness in the community. That's all we're looking for."
In a letter dated May 21, Harmon writes to Ambrose "with much regret I am appalled at the content of your letter...I was unaware of any consideration of creating a new project team to complete the construction of the TAAM." He goes on to say "Approximately one year ago, David Thompson, Billy Pitts (former Board Chair), you and myself met to discuss the parameters of the project once the funds became available to begin the project. After this meeting, I did not receive any communication otherwise until I received the...letter from you."
Harmon called for a meeting with the Tubman to happen before June 3. He says no one responded to his request.
However, Scott Thompson, Vice President and CFO of Piedmont Construction, Harmon's former parter, has a different take. He says his company kept their end of the contract, and their partnership ended for various reasons.
""It just wasn't a good working relationship and we didn't see the benefit to any party--the owner, or us, or quite frankly to Harmon--for us to continue a bad working relationship," Thompson says.
Thompson also says the written contract never said Harmon would be apart of constructing the inside of the building, and the Tubman had the final say over what company would build the inside.
41NBC tried to reach out to the Tubman's Board of Directors, but we have not had a response.
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