Earlier this year, when the Guilford County Board of Commissioners went behind closed doors and then came out and voted unanimously to end a construction contract with Samet Corp. for a $24 million law enforcement demolition and construction project, many people in the room were stunned and the Samet representatives who came to the meeting and sat in the back were none too happy.

Some who following the dispute have been expecting Samet, and perhaps subcontractors as well, to take legal action against the county. But, this week, Samet Corp. would not answer any questions regarding whether or not the company would sue.

During several meetings, when the commissioners discussed the contract matter in closed session, Greensboro Attorney Justin Outling, a former Greensboro City Council member, sat in the back of the commissioners’ meeting room for hours on end with Samet officials, waiting together to see what would happen.  On Thursday, March 2, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, just before midnight, voted to end the contract that had made Samet Construction Manager At Risk on the project that was nearly finished with the first phase but still had two major phases to go.

On Wednesday, May 17, Suzanne Turner, the vice president, of marketing and client services for Samet, when asked about Samet’s plans, said at first that she would discuss the matter internally and see if she could provide any information.  Later in the day, in an email Turner stated, “I’m not able to provide any updates for you currently.”

Turner also declined to comment on other questions regarding the current relationship between Samet Corp. and Guilford County.

If Samet is planning on filing a lawsuit, the company apparently hasn’t informed the county.  On Wednesday, May 17, when asked about some recent rumors that Samet would sue the county, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said, “I haven’t heard anything.”

Alston added that he believes the county is on very solid ground if it is sued and he said that’s demonstrated by the fact that the vote to end the contract was unanimous.  If the county did not have good reasons for the move, the chairman said, there would have been some dissenting commissioners.

Neither Samet nor Guilford County has provided details regarding the disagreement, but, if there is a lawsuit, the information will no doubt come out.

After the county ended the contract, Samet sent out a press release charging that there was an effort by Guilford County government to inappropriately increase the participation of minority firms in the project. Guilford County then sent a statement to the Rhino Times claiming that the termination of the contract was instead based on something that happened that was “wholly inconsistent” with the county’s values.

The Board of Commissioners has scheduled a closed session at the end of the board’s Thursday, May 18 meeting “for the purposes of consulting with the county attorney,” though there’s no indication that the closed session is related to the dispute with Samet Corp.