Prop P lawsuit reminds us of old cowboy cliffhanger

Bill Milligan

Prop P lawsuit reminds us of old cowboy cliffhanger

A lawsuit involving the Mehlville School District and its Proposition P renovation of local schools is so convoluted it reminds me of a shoot-out in an old Roy Rogers’ cowboy epic.

Picture three bands of gunmen rapid firing at each other from behind rocks and sagebrush with nobody knowing exactly who’s on what side. None of the cowboys seems to be a very good shot, but the thing that adds suspense to this episode is that Mehlville children are caught in the crossfire.

One group of cowboys rode in from Virden, Ill. They work for Prairie-Land Construction Inc. and they contracted to replace windows in school buildings throughout the district.

That draft your child might have complained about this long, cold winter may be coming from a window that PrairieLand didn’t replace.

Instead, they’re hunkered down in the desert shooting at Roy and the Mehlville boys. At least we hope that our guys are with Roy. Otherwise, we won’t ever have our new windows.

The third group in the crossfire are the ranch hands from the National Surety Corp. of California. We can’t see them very well because they’re behind rocks. But it looks like they might be riding the black horses and wearing mustaches. I think they’re the ones who started shooting at the Mehlville boys. It’s hard to say.

Earlier, Roy came to town looking for new windows at the general store.

National Surety and PrairieLand got into a brawl at the local saloon over some contract with the city of St. Louis. Apparently because Prairie-Land wasn’t paid on that job, it kept them from completing the job Roy and the boys wanted done. It was something technical and it didn’t seem to have anything to do with keeping pupils out of a draft this winter.

But the brawl spilled out into the street and that’s where Roy got involved. Roy headed back to his spread with new windows for 11 schools wondering how the work was going to get done. Near as we can tell, the shooting started when Na-tional Surety demanded Mehlville terminate its contract with Prairie-Land. Roy and our boys didn’t want to do that because it would preclude them from “liquidated damages,”so they took cover in the rocks.

Curses. Now, nothing’s getting done.

Roy and the boys still have a $3.7 million project to complete and there’s no happy ending in sight. Like an old cowboy show, I guess we’ll have to stay tuned to find out what happens next in this classic cliffhanger.

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