Business owner: VDOT’s forcing me into bankruptcy

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A property fight in Portsmouth has taken a new turn, and this one has a pretty strict deadline.

10 On Your Side first covered this story back in January. Old Dominion Demolition has to move and make way for the MLK Expressway Project. They were even promised a lot of money. However, no final contract has been signed.

“They’re dragging their feet, and I’m dying. They aren’t doing me right,” said Old Dominion Owner Dan Crispino.

Crispino owns the company that brings down other buildings, like the old SMA building that made way for MacArthur Center. Crispino’s property was bought through imminent domain, making way for the MLK Extension, and it cuts right through the middle of his property.

For nearly two years, he’s been fighting the Virginia Department of Transportation, its private partner, Elizabeth River Crossings, and SKW, which is the company that is actually building the extension. In February, Crispino and SKW came to agreement in exchange for up to just over $1 million, if Crispino will leave the property by Monday June 23.

Here’s the problem: it takes a lot of money to move concrete, and Crispino said he’s out of pocket greater than $100,000 to move tons of concrete. Crispino is broke and getting broker.

“We haven’t been able to move because they are dragging their feet on advancing me any money or paying the bills for moving. It’s just about bankrupt me, and we’ve been waiting for months and months to get paid,” Crispino said.

Crispino has so far only received $20,000, and that was June 10 — two weeks before the deadline to move.

“The VDOT people and SKW need to honor their agreements and come forth with some money so we can get out of here,” he said.

An additional $60,000 in expenses has been rejected by VDOT. That decision is now under review.

WAVY.com obtained the Old Dominion Demolition Relocation Financial Plan with $500,000 in escrow to repay receipts VDOT deems legitimate: “when we get the submitable receipts we can pay whenever we get them. Weekly, monthly, as it is submitted, if it’s reasonable, actual, and necessary … it will be paid.”

There is bad blood out here with Crispino. He claims he’s seen spies in the grass trying to catch environmental violations.

“They have an environmental firm watching every little thing. Instead of helping me, they are stopping the process of me getting out here,” he said.

Document: Department of Environmental Quality letter

10 On Your Side obtained a letter from the Department of Environmental Quality that states VDOT’s environmental concerns with Crispino’s property, “reveals that the report does not provide sufficient documentation to assess the environmental site condition.”

WAVY.com asked Crispino whether all these are more examples of public private partnerships being one big mess.

“Yes, it is, and it should not be here,” he said. “It is sad for the public. It is sad their forcing me to go bankrupt.”

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