In January of 1996 Ron Blount, the quintessential Huber-Hunt advocate, finally admitted he was sorry he had ever recommended that company. That month he wrote to R.G. Hunt, declaring that the Tower project in Montgomery “is on the verge of becoming a nightmare” (I thought it already was). The bond company, USF&G, was notified. Ron confided to me that the Dallas Branch hierarchy was now totally unresponsive even to him. Thus, to Ron and me, extricating ourselves from this impossible situation had finally become as important a goal as was completing the building.
While we had different motives, the two of us joined forces to diffuse the situation. I proposed that we persuade Robert Hunt himself to fly to Montgomery every month and walk through the building with David Bronner. I hoped that the two CEOs would resolve matters between themselves and redirect all the animosity that was poisoning the construction effort. Blount agreed and made the contacts.
Bronner and Hunt each must have realized the huge liability that their respective organizations faced and they accepted my suggestion. Hunt made several such trips. Usually I walked along with them pointing out what I thought to be significant deficiencies in the work. Bronner played the role of magnanimous despot and personally waived off many of them. Tensions were relieved.
Finally in mid-1998, we prepared a sign-off change order which terminated all claims by each party, acknowledged a token reduction in the contract sum for work not corrected, and constituted a release of any claim against other parties, yours truly included. Both Huber-Hunt and the RSA accepted the surrender, each one as relieved as the other to finally be rid of this albatross of a contract. Yours truly and our insurance carrier, DPIC, breathed a huge sigh of relief. It had been a painful five years.
-Charles Humphries (“Peril and Intrigue Within Architecture”)