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Record lottery winner's business target of complaints

Sep 21, 2005, 6:39 pm

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After the Big Win

More than 1,500 complaints have been filed in a Wood County sewer project being completed by a company owned by record Powerball winner Jack Whittaker, about one complaint for every customer the Union Williams Public Service District project would serve.

Diversified Enterprise and its subcontractor, Zion Inc., allegedly have sliced water, sewer, gas and power lines, cut down trees and knocked down fences, according to complaints filed with the PSD, located in Waverly.

The sewer project started in March 2004 and was supposed to be completed by last March, said Jerry Dotson, general manager of the Union Williams PSD. The number of complaints does not mean that each of the approximately 1,500 customers sent one, Dotson said, as some complained several times.

"We haven't been real happy with how some of the complaints have turned out," Dotson said.

Meanwhile, officials from the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation are calling for an investigation into Whittaker's connections to Holley Brothers Construction Co. Inc. of Gallipolis, Ohio.

The construction company owes more than $1.3 million to the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Fund, said T.J. Obrakta, general counsel for the Workers' Compensation Commission.

Whittaker said the complaints are without merit and that the union has targeted him because his company is nonunion.

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