'It is a big waste of money,' $1.3M Ellensburg remodel sits vacant

'It is a big waste of money,' $1.3M Ellensburg remodel sits vacant »Play Video
ELLENSBURG, Wash. – The weeds grow taller behind the fenced-off Ellensburg Armory Building. It’s a sign of how long the project has been dormant.

KIMA asked Yakima County Commissioner Obie O’Brien about the job.

“It is a big waste of time,” O’Brien said. “It is a big waste of money. It's very frustrating."

A remodel of the building was supposed to be finished last September, but the contractor, Skyline Construction, walked off the job.

Kittitas County officials now tell KIMA the subcontractor, Spady Construction, was working on the site without a license. The county since filed a claim with the Attorney General asking for criminal charges against Spady.

O'Brien tells KIMA due diligence was done before hiring Spady. But, Spady didn't honor its end of the deal. KIMA asked O'Brien if the screening could have been done better.

"Had we had the information, had we known what these folks were like we certainly would not have gone there,” O’Brien said.

Skyline and Spady say Kittitas County owes them $900,000. County officials argue that number is much less.

To get both sides, KIMA called and E-mailed Skyline Construction. Their voice mail was full and KIMA couldn't’t get in touch.

County officials say both companies have filed for bankruptcy. Kittitas County is trying to move on by taking new bids to finish the job. The problem is they came in at another $1.3 million. That's what the county originally expected to spend for the whole thing. The county rejected the bids.

Now, it's several-hundred-thousand dollars over budget.
"We may have to spend the money, but we will make sure we get a product out of the money we spend,” O’Brien said.

Until then, the dust, grass and price-tag for taxpayers keep growing.