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Federal judge sides with contractor

Court rules against U.S. Army officials in housing dispute

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2007

FAIRBANKS - Army officials acted "in a breach of good faith and fair dealing" in a dispute over 400 housing units managed under a program for Fort Wainwright soldiers, a federal judge has ruled.

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U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Francis Allegra sided with a contractor who claimed his company was cheated by the government. In the March 7 decision, the judge said that at least two civilian Army officials acted with animosity toward contractor Dick Fischer and his company, North Star Alaska Housing Corp., in the maintenance and operation of the Birchwood neighborhood homes.

The dispute between Fischer and the Army has stretched over several years. The decision was based on a lawsuit filed by Fischer in 1998 that stemmed from a contract beginning in 1987 when he began taking part in the Army's 801 housing program. Under the program, the Army leases privately constructed homes for soldiers, with maintenance and operations obligations detailed for the contractor and the Army.

Fischer's company built the homes between 1985 and 1987, and has managed them since.

Fischer said he was "astonished" at the opinion.

"We are tenacious and we were wronged," he said. "We were wronged and this vindicates us."

In his 94-page decision, Allegra said civilian Army officials purposely tried to get North Star to fail or not fulfill its obligations.



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