31
Jul

Lawsuit over Chateau Pensmore building materials settled – Springfield News-Leader

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Inside the Pensmore mansion

A lawsuit filed last year regarding Chateau Pensmore won’t be going to trial.

Online court records indicate a settlement has been reached in the suit filed by Steven T. Huff Family, LLC against two companies that helped build the 72,000-square-foot mansion in southern Christian County.

The settlement was reached July 21, according to court records. Prior to that, a jury trial had been scheduled to begin Monday.

The court records do not detail the specifics of the settlement.

The lawsuit revolved around a unique material incorporated into the mansion’s construction.

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Steven T. Huff Family, LLC — which is owned solely by Pensmore owner Steven T. Huff — had sought $63 million from Kansas-based Monarch Cement Company and its Springfield subsidiary, City Wide Construction Products.

When Huff had Pensmore built, he said he wanted a structure that would last forever. Key to that goal, he said, was Helix, a steel fiber alternative to rebar that the lawsuit says was first developed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Helix was mixed into concrete used to build Pensmore.

The lawsuit alleged that the two companies shorted Huff. While more than 200,000 pounds of Helix was supposed to be incorporated into the building, more than 70,000 pounds never made it into the concrete, according to the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit alleged that an employee used the shorted Helix in other projects, and that at least one City Wide Construction Projects executive was aware.

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The lawsuit says another employee of one of the two companies ultimately alerted Huff or his representatives to the situation.

In May 2016, Gabriel Berg, an attorney for Steven T. Huff Family LLC, told the News-Leader that the Helix theft meant the structural strength of Pensmore was unclear.

Huff wants the companies that built it to “tear it down and build it back up right,” Berg said at the time.

Berg told the News-Leader Monday it would violate the confidentiality provision of the settlement agreement to comment on if the agreement includes tearing the building down and building it again.

A representative of the law firm defending the cement companies said in a statement that the matter was resolved “amicably.”

News-Leader reporter Harrison Keegan contributed to this report.

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