Sikeston firm still waiting for payment on courthouse project

Friday, August 10, 2007

The federal government expects to spend $62 million for the new federal courthouse in Cape Girardeau, but a Sikeston, Mo. cleaning company still hasn't seen a dime for work it did nearly two years ago at the job site.

The General Services Administration and staff members for U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson said they will investigate the matter.

"We don't think any payment or performance issues should be taken lightly when it comes to federal construction work," said GSA spokesman Charlie Cook with the agency's regional office in Kansas City.

Tony Smee, vice president and general manager of ServiceMaster Professional Cleaning Services in Sikeston, said his company has never been paid for cleaning up a mechanical and air conditioning room in the new courthouse in December 2005 in advance of a federal inspection.

Smee said his company handled the cleanup work at the construction site from Dec. 12 to Dec. 15 that year under a contract with Construction Cleaners USA.

Construction Cleaners was hired as a subcontractor by PCL of Denver, the general contractor on the courthouse project.

Smee said that he reached John Radford, who operated Construction Cleaners, in Canada in March 26. Smee said Radford promised to pay ServiceMaster but never did.

"I just never expected that someone who would be approved as a contractor for a federal project would be such a shady character," Smee said.

"He either intentionally set out to defraud us or he got in financial trouble and couldn't pay the bills," Smee said.

For updates, check back at or read Saturday's Southeast Missourian.

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