Play ball: Boston Red Sox's Stadium Construction Investigation
You are paying part of the nearly 80-million dollar price tag for the new red sox stadium in Fort Myers. County Commissioners promised you the project would create local jobs. But is it? Four In Your Corner Investigator Rob Koebel digging deeper into the numbers to uncover the truth.
After almost two decades – the City of Palms will host its last Boston Red Sox's games this spring. Then the stadium becomes history.
Worker: "This portion right there is the entire site and this is the club house area"
It may not look like much now – but in less than a year this will be the new home for the Boston Red Sox's spring training.
Bob Taylor: "From now on I think on any given day once this thing is rolling full steam there will be between 100 hundred to two hundred employees any given day".
Ray Judah: "it creates jobs…it creates jobs at the most critical time and we are talking about construction jobs".
Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah says the project he approved will keep jobs right here in Lee county.
Ray Judah: "The board of county commissioners made a commitment that no less than 65 percent of those local work force would be from Lee County".
But many Lee County sub contractors who were afraid to go on camera came to Four in Your Corner claiming the contractor isn't meeting the 65-percent standard Commissioner Judah mentioned. So I went to the site to see for myself. What percentage are workers from Lee County?
Bob Taylor: "I have said that from day one of this project we want to get as many Lee County – local contractors on this job site – I want to see their trucks on this site as often as we can
Bob Taylor is the project manager for the county – he allowed us to check the site out for ourselves. We spotted one after another company from outside Lee County doing work on the project.
Bob Taylor: "I have to believe from an economic stand point that it would be cheaper for them to hire a local person to work rather than try to house somebody here locally.
Rob: I guess the only thing some critics would say to that is they have their own employees and they want to keep them employed too?
Bob Taylor: That's true, that's true, that's true and I don't have an argument for that.
So we took those concerns to the company in charge of hiring the sub-contractors -- Manhattan Kraft construction.
Bob Koenig: "it's the initial wave of contractors seem to be a little higher on the Sarasota subcontractor – seems to be low there – soon you will see like cement companies out there and other local mason's".
Koenig says as of February 14th the numbers look like this a little more than 66 percent of the business is contracted out to Lee County. Sarasota County has 31 percent and Charlotte a little more than 2 percent. But remember that is just slightly above the 65 percent county commissioners required. Koenig says he can't just pick a crew because they are from Lee County – cost is a major factor.
Bob Koenig: "this job has been extremely competitive – we received over 400 bids for the various scopes of work".
Koenig says about 30 percent of the work has already been contracted – and he will have to keep a close watch to make sure future contracts go to the proper percentage of local companies.
So who's double checking to make sure that happens? County Commissioner Ray Judah says the public needs to trust them. But that's a pitch some local subcontractors aren't willing to take. In Fort Myers – Rob Koebel – Fox Four in Your Corner.
Manhattan Kraft says they should have the final numbers for the project by the end of February when they have finished hiring. You can bet we'll be asking for them to make sure they keep their word.