SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sioux Falls officials are seeking answers about how the city benefited from a once-secret settlement with several contractors over construction defects at an event center.

City Council and the public weren’t informed about details of the $1 million Denny Sanford Premier Center siding settlement until last week, when the South Dakota Supreme Court ordered it be made public, the Argus Leader reported .

Council members said they want to know how the city benefited from the deal, what went wrong to begin with and why the flawed paneling on the $117 million building hasn’t been replaced.

“I have more questions at this point than I did before the process started,” said Pat Starr, the first of four councilors to call for official hearings with Mayor Mike Huether’s administration to discuss the settlement.

When the paneling began to fall apart in 2014 before the event center’s official opening, Huether’s administration hired a forensic specialist to investigate what went wrong and how to best move forward. The specialist’s findings weren’t made public, but were used to determine the deficiency was solely aesthetic and the building was structurally sound.

Public Works Director Mark Cotter said Tuesday there are no plans to replace the exterior siding.

“The water-tight materials are installed behind the siding,” he said. “Its appearance, while questioned, is not inconsistent with the features of other commercial buildings across the U.S.”

Starr said the council should get to see the forensic specialist’s report so councilors can do their own review of the findings. He also said the council should do an independent audit of the project to determine if the construction and the handling of the flawed siding were done properly.


Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com