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City Still Awaiting Word From Bridge Owners

December 27, 2012
By JOSELYN KING Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

An independent arbiter would have final say over a $500,000 escrow account pertaining to the Bellaire Bridge demolition under the most recent proposal offered by Benwood officials.

City leaders, though, say they still have yet to hear back from the bridge's owners about whether they will agree to the deal.

The owners - Krystal Chaklos of KDC Investments and Lee Chaklos of Delta Demolition - had objected to an original agreement passed by Benwood City Council in which only Benwood's name was on the escrow account. The city had requested the Chakloses place $500,000 in escrow to ensure completion of the bridge demolition once the project begins, and the Chakloses have wanted their name on the account.

Article Photos

Photo by Joselyn King
The Bellaire Bridge, which once connected Benwood and Bellaire, has been closed since 1991.

Council next passed an amended agreement in which the name of Weirton lawyer Dan Guida would be placed alongside Benwood's on the escrow account as an independent third party. Benwood leaders now are offering the Chakloses an agreement in which only Guida's name would be on the escrow account.

Benwood officials have yet to hear back from the owners since the original agreement was passed by council in mid-October.

Jeremy Domozick, attorney for KDC Investments and Delta Demolition, did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

"We're pretty much where we were," said Benwood Police Chief Frank Longwell. "There has been a deal struck with Guida to administer the fund. ... It's what they (the Chakloses) requested and what they agreed on. But we haven't heard back.

"Essentially, the deal says if there is a problem (with completion of the bridge demolition), he (Guida) would be an independent arbitrator."

Under terms of the agreement, if KDC and Delta Demolition were to fail to complete bridge demolition and leave the project, they would forfeit the $500,000 in escrow and also the rights to all remaining metal. The money from the sale of the metal, along with the escrow, would then be used to pay another contractor to demolish what remains of the bridge.

If KDC and Delta Demolition complete the project, the $500,000 would be returned to them with interest.

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