The Huff family alleges in its lawsuit that the concrete company that worked on Pensmore intentionally shorted the amount of reinforcing materials they were supposed to be putting in the concrete as it was mixed. Pensmore was designed to withstand an EF-5 tornado or even a bomb blast, with small pieces of a reinforced steel called Helix inside the concrete walls. But the lawsuit says a former employee of City Wide Construction Products came forward in October 2014, claiming that he and other workers were ordered to short the amount of Helix in the concrete, and the Helix that wasn't used was possibly re-sold. The lawsuit says he tried to stop the practice, but failed and felt "lousy" about what occurred.
The suit says Pensmore did core testing, which confirmed the whistleblower's account. The man also claimed another additive called plasticizer to strengthen the walls, was watered down or not used at all. We contacted an attorney for City Wide and Monarch Cement Company, named collectively as defendants. In a statement, Attorney Michael E. Callahan said, "We find the plaintiff's allegations of an intentional scheme to short steel fibers to be without merit, and there is no evidence even suggesting there is a shortage.
The Monarch Cement Company and City Wide Construction Products are known for their high-quality products and longtime commitment to customer service. They will defend their hard-earned reputations against the plaintiff's allegations all the way through trial, if necessary." The Steven Huff family is asking for $63 million in damages and for specific performance, which would require the defendant to tear down and build Pensmore back right. The case is set for a jury trial in federal court November 14th.