Rachel Hawkins, NDG Staff Writer
The controversy swirling around The ARK Group, Skanska and Billy Bob Barnett’s Big Beat Dallas, still remains a hot topic in Irving. As residents continue to learn and discover new facts brought to light, it appears many seem to forget about a group caught in the middle: the contractors who helped build the project.
Steve Westbrook, president of Highland Builders, who has delivered commercial projects in the City of Irving for over 30 years. They were hired to build the Big Beat Dallas venues for Barnett, but they have not been paid in full yet. During an Irving City Council meeting held on July 19, Westbrook during the Citizen’s Forum segment on the agenda Westbrook requested the city step in and pay the balance owed so he can pay the subcontractors.
“We’re owed approximately $2.3 million,” Westbrook said. “We did everything at 100 percent to everyone’s satisfaction. Just because there is some technicality between the developers and Billy Bob Barnett, does not mean that these hard working people should not be paid.”
The minority partners working with Highland Builders are facing extreme financial hardship as a result of the long delay in payment.
“One of the sub-contractors is owed $100,900,” Westbrook said. “He is a small contractor, and he came to me around a week ago and said that he had to sell his house to continue to provide for his family. We are requesting that you (the Irving City Council members) step in and pay us for what we have completed,” Westbrook said.
The city council members are not allowed to comment or take action on items brought by residents during the Citizen’s Forum as they are restricted because of the Texas Open Meetings law which prevents deliberation of items not on the published agenda.