Unpaid Courthouse Cleanup Tab

Unpaid Courthouse Cleanup Tab
By: CJ Cassidy

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Business owners expect to get stiffed on the job every now and then, but at the federal level?
A local cleaning service company found itself stuck with the bill after taking on a project at the new federal courthouse.
Now company representatives say if you can't trust the federal government to pay, who can you trust?
Tony Smee's calls to a sub-contractor go unreturned.
He says he's given up on getting paid for a cleaning job at the new federal courthouse, but he wants to make sure his story is heard.
"They were having a federal inspection, and needed someone to clean up the area before it was inspected.  I was contacted by Construction Cleaners USA, Inc. out of Florida, who had been approved to do the project, and couldn't get employees here in that time frame," Smee said.
So Smee's crew came in and cleaned up an area inside the building.  He just didn't realize he'd get stuck with the tab.
"We were supposed to have been paid within two to three weeks, and and we were never paid," he said.
That was back in December 2005.
Lloyd Smith at Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson's Office says the General Services Administration (GSA) overseeing the sub-contractors is looking into the problem.
Smith says problems with sub-contractors crop up often on big projects, but that he's never seen this much difficulty over such a small price tab.
That cleaning bill comes to a little over $2,600.
Still, Smee says it's not about the money, rather about the principal.
"It's very disappointing.  It's a fairly small job.  However you don't expect on something such as a federal project, that you would have trouble locating the individual who hired you to do the job," Smee said.
The sub-contractor who hired Tony Smee's company did not return our calls.
A spokesman for GSA says they've notified the general contractor about the issue, and suggest Smee seek payment through them or through a performance bond posted by that contractor.