KINGMAN – City Building Official Dave Hattrick ordered Best Western Kings Inn owner Tom Spear back to the drawing board to have a licensed architect produce accurate plans showing the modifications to Room 240 that is the focus of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Hattrick said Spear submitted an application for a permit for the roof extension over the room’s balcony within the specified time frame outlined in a letter Hattrick delivered last month. However, on Monday, Hattrick delivered another letter stating the permit application was incomplete.
“He gave me exactly what I had asked for, but it’s still not in compliance with state law,” he said.
Along with needing the updated plans, Spear must report which contractor performed the work that took place between November 2003 and February 2004. State law requires the architect and contractor are licensed professionals, according to Hattrick.
Hattrick said the permit fee would be doubled for Spear since the construction was performed without the necessary permit. He informed Spear last month that the department had no record of any permits issued for the alterations.
The fee would be based on the square footage of the enclosed area. Hattrick said the added charge is not considered a fine because the Building Department does not have the authority to levy fines.
“It’s the closest we come to a fine as administratively possible,” he said.
According to documents from the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim a faulty boiler located directly below Room 240 leaked carbon monoxide gas through openings around pipes between the two rooms.
A 22-year-old woman, Sharmalee Ann Johnson, died from carbon monoxide poisoning and Frederick Herzer, now 25, allegedly suffered permanent brain damage on Feb. 14, 2004.
In February 2006, Spear filed a counterclaim naming the city of Kingman and former Building Official George Lutz among other new defendants not named in the original suit. The city and Lutz failed to regularly inspect all phases of construction of an addition to the hotel, which included the addition of a boiler, according to the countersuit.
Lutz previously said that no permits were issued to his knowledge for the roof extension. Hattrick has worked for the city for one year and said he doesn’t know why there was no permit on file for the 2004 modifications.
Hattrick inspected Room 240 on April 24 based on the permit application. He found two holes in the ceiling made for electrical and plumbing conduit for the heating and cooling unit. Hattrick said the holes needed to be plugged before he could clear the room for occupancy. The holes are a separate issue from the lawsuit, he added. None of the court documents mention the holes Hattrick found.
They were made to connect the heating and cooling unit.
It is not uncommon to find holes that have not been caulked properly in public buildings, Hattrick said.
Hattrick said the boiler has been moved to a separate structure and the old boiler room now houses a water pump.
“We know there is no combustion of any kind in the boiler room, so the building is relatively safe,” he said.
Spear said Monday that he would comply with anything the Building Department requires for the permit to be approved.
For at least one resident, it’s too little too late. A petition is circulating to have Spear recalled. The statement filed with the application for the petition states Spear as vice mayor is not acting in Kingman’s best interests by naming the city in his counterclaim.
Spear has 10 days to alert Hattrick that he has hired an architect to amend the plans then he would have 40 days to prepare and submit the proper documents.