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The People's Hard Earned Tax Dollars at Work!"

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The following letter was submitted to The Scoop Newspaper, that honestly, knocked this editor back into focus.

"I want to thank you for and interesting ride.  Each time I receive "The Scoop" via e-mail, I go through it front to back (and sideways).  I don't know how I got into the "Scoop" fever, but it somehow hit a fond nerve.

I grew up in a small town in eastern Oregon, MBA from University of Oregon, and accounting careers in Portland, Seattle, Spokane, Louisville.  I still dabble a bit in the "bean counting" area, but now, mostly use my computer as a "private" library.  Of all the areas available to me, the down to earth, home news is the most exciting.

Thank you for your contribution to my enjoyment.  It is a unique experience in this "faster, faster - hurryup, faster", world we live in. (Still want to know how the "sewer fight" is going).

Steve"

Upon returning to the old stories posted about the sewer defects, I was shocked to see the number of readers  who read (and are still reading) the initial story (ies). I apologize for not updating the readership with the story progression - yes, this story has REALLY progressed since November of 2009.

I always refer to the on-going saga  as, "The People's Hard Earned Tax Dollars at Work!"


Since November of 2009, I have followed every single 'professional' suggestion to each trail's end. From my insurance company to the City of O'Fallon's insurance company and the State Representatives, County personnel and City of O'Fallon Mayor and City Council...all the way through the Missouri Department of Insurance game-playing to the Department of Natural Resources...week after week and month after month...and nothing or no one could  (or would) assist with this problem.

  Then, finally...after two 'pushes' to get the Department of Natural Resources to do a study of the area, it was discovered that the sewer pipes located directly across the street from my home and running all the way up to Highway K and UNDER Highway K had portions that collapsed from age and deterioration. The street workers even had to auger and replace pipe UNDER Highway K. The formal  DEpartment of Natural Resources report had pictures attached that serve as evidence. Additionally, 'leakage' was detected at manhole areas along Brookfield Drive...one located directly across my street in front of our home.

Once this was discovered, documented...and after I finally received a copy of the study results, City of O'Fallon, County and State Highway vehicles and personnel were EVERYWHERE and at all hours of the day for at least one month. And then, it happened! Huge replacement sewer pipes were dropped at the corner of Feise Rd and Brookfield and the excavation and re-laying of new sewer pipe began.

At this time, Attorney Larry Bagsby agreed to represent all of the homeowners  that stepped forward and let me know of their property damage due to the City of O'Fallon sewer line problems. Mr. Bagsby agreed to represent each homeowner on a contingency basis. It took a couple more months to gather all the documentation of losses for each homeowner in the lawsuit, however...on January 14, 2011, a suit was filed in behalf of each homeowner in the Circuit Courts of St. Charles County. AGAINST the City of O'Fallon. Printed on the front page of the suit, it reads: PLAINTIFFS DEMAND TRIAL BY JURY.

Now...a simple problem that HAD TO BE CORRECT to prevent future losses to the homeowners has been fixed. Next, the City of O'Fallon could have solved the 'homeowner' damage HONESTLY for under $20,000 by simply paying for the property damages incurred on October 30, 2009. I

nstead, they 'flaired a fire' by refusing to pay for the damages caused by the faulty system, causing this homeowner to get into the 'investigative reporter mood'...and now the suit for the damages has grown to approximately $300,000.00 and a finale that should set a precedent for other homeowners in the future, should another such incident occur.

Out of respect for our neighbors and friends who continue to pay for the stupidity of some elected officials in O'Fallon, the City of O'Fallon may only end up responsible for the first $25,000 of loss with Travelors Insurance Company responsible for any additional losses. All the homeowners filed as one suit in court, thus one deductable?

Travelors Insurance may argue that the City of O'Fallon should have to pay for the first $25,000 of EACH homeowner's damage, which would result in $175,000.00 should the judicial system find in the homeowners favor. Whatever the case, it should be fun to watch that 'tango' of powers!

As of February 20, 2011, we stand 'on hold' awaiting response through the judicial system...just watching again..."The People's Hard Earned Tax Dollars at Work!

As a bonus update to this story, I would like to share with you the things I've learned 'along the way':

1.) Check your Homeowner's Policies and make absolutely sure you are covered for any possible 'Act of God'. I use this term because that is the term used by questionable insurance companies, as a reason to DENY your claim. You'd be surprised the stories I've heard along the way from homeowners/business owners. Be sure you have an agent. Be sure that agent is alive (seriously). I have found out that I was assigned to an insurance agent who is dead and thus did not have the resources or representation to push my claim through. No one advised me as the policy changed over the years and the insurance company decided that was my fault. that I did not have this knowledge. To this date, after numerous requests, I still do not have a live, local agent to service our account.

2.) When you REALLY know that something is wrong with services you may be receiving, and you decide to take issue with the City of O'Fallon...be prepared to be patronized, insulted and lied to by any department/staff that decides they can resolve the situation. I was tossed around from the first phone call to city hall - a call made to  find out the procedure to file the claim for damages. I was shocked to hear some of the bizarre answers I receive from city staff that I had otherwise thought somewhat intelligent. The City's Finance Director and City Clerk openly shared stories about how members of their families had experienced the same  losses as I, and they just paid for the damages themselves. Were they implying that I should pay for the damages to my home caused by a defect in O'Fallon's sewer system, simply because their family member did? I was at a loss!

3.) NEVER, EVER believe that the Missouri Department of Insurance purpose is to help the taxpayer. The taxpayers may pay for the salaries of that department, however the personnel don't seem too concerned about that. The Missouri Department of Insurance did nothing more than review the case and advise the insurance company on what needed to be done to complete their investigation. This service was nothing more than a waste of time. as the employee in their office stated clearly to me, "you just want us to make a judgement. You may need a lawyer."
So taxpayers, I ask, why are WE paying for quality assurance services that should be provided by the insurance company, the Attorney General of the State of Missouri...or the courts. The Missouri Department of Insurance serves little benefit to any consumer. Don't waste your time. It's a waste of taxpayer money.

(I will continue to add to the list, as well as update our readers as the saga continues! Thank you for your on-going interest and support! )