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WCCB scandal: Construction companies claiming millions

WCCB scandal : Construction companies claiming millions

The construction scandal surrounding the World Conference Center Bonn is not yet over for the city. It is demanding compensation from former mayor Bärbel Dieckmann and the project manager.

The city of Bonn has had to pay around ten million euros in legal, court and consulting fees in connection with the construction scandal surrounding the World Conference Center Bonn. There is still no end in sight to the inglorious construction chapter on the congress center, which opened in 2015. Legal proceedings at the Administrative Court of Cologne have not yet begun for damages claimed by the city of Bonn against the former mayor Bärbel Dieckmann and her project manager. Three lawsuits are also pending at the Regional Court and Higher Regional Court by former WCCB construction companies, who are making claims in the millions against the city of Bonn. In a closed session on Thursday evening, the main committee has now released a further 60,000 euros for the Bonn law firm mandated with these proceedings.

In its submission the city states as justification: “Despite the fact that construction work has since been completed and the conference center is in successful operation, the city will continue to be dependent on qualified legal advice and procedural representation in this matter in 2020”. Three civil proceedings by former contractors against the city are still pending before the Regional Court in Bonn and the Higher Regional Court in Cologne.

One case concerns a company that was commissioned with the electrical work at the time and is claiming a total of 5.2 million euros plus interest from the city in two ongoing court proceedings. In the first, both parties are prepared to end the legal dispute with a court settlement, which involves a payment of around 1.1 million euros. "However, since a number of smaller issues are still in dispute, there is currently no settlement proposal on which the city would have to act. The administration will report on the further course of the proceedings on an ongoing basis," says the city in a statement available to GA. In the second proceedings, in which the electrical company is claiming 4.1 million plus interest for alleged additional costs due to disruptions in the construction progress, the Regional Court in Bonn had already dismissed the claim; the case is now pending before the Higher Regional Court in Cologne.

Another case concerns a construction company which has since declared bankruptcy and whose insolvency manager has now raised a claim for approximately 2.4 million euro. The legal dispute with the city mainly relates to open items in the final invoice. The city's lawyers have examined the claim; a corresponding statement of defence was submitted on June 10. Here, too, the administration intends to report further to the politicians.

Two years ago, the council decided to sue the former mayor Bärbel Dieckmann and her then project manager for one million euros each in connection with the WCCB construction scandal. The Administrative Court in Cologne has not yet set a date for the proceedings. A claim for damages against the former head of the municipal building management, Friedhelm Naujoks, had been dismissed by the Regional Labour Court in January. The Labour Court in Bonn had already found Naujoks not guilty of committing gross breach of duty in 2018.

(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen, Translation: Caroline Kusch)