VIP warns board of impending litigation if agreement can't be reached

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The attorney representing VIP Industries sent a letter to the Cape County Board for Developmentally Disabled last week telling the board he has been authorized to file suit against them on behalf of VIP.

John E. Toma, a St. Louis lawyer, also said VIP is willing to meet with the board in a final effort to avoid litigation.

Last month VIP issued a formal demand to the board in an attempt to recover $125,900.16 to pay for utilities, insurance, maintenance, transportation and per diem allowances through Sept. 30. The letter also asked for the board to resume funding those items beginning in October. In November Toma said VIP is entitled to the funding through a 1975 ballot initiative.

After the demand was issued in November, board president Dory Johnson said the board passed guidelines earlier this year for organizations that had a funding contract with them. She said VIP is not meeting the requirements.

The contract, she said, requires an organization requesting money from the board to provide a description of how funds will be used and information on its financial condition. If an organization appears to be financially comfortable, that does not mean the board will refuse funding, she said.

Earlier this year the relationship between the board and VIP became strained following a change in board leadership and examinations of how tax money, nearly $900,000 a year, is spent by the board.

Calls to Toma and Johnson for comment were not returned.

cbartholomew@semissourian.com

243-8600

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