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Loose Screws

"URGENT NEW INFORMATION!! PLEASE FORWARD TO RESPONSIBLE PARTIES OF THE BANK ONE BALLPARK SAFE OPERATION AND MANAGEMENT!!" So began a stark, and somewhat bizarre, letter that was faxed on May 16 to Arizona Diamondbacks attorney Brad Holm. Ramon J. Cook, a construction engineer from Texas, had been hired to review...
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So began a stark, and somewhat bizarre, letter that was faxed on May 16 to Arizona Diamondbacks attorney Brad Holm.

Ramon J. Cook, a construction engineer from Texas, had been hired to review Bank One Ballpark as part of an ongoing lawsuit over $35 million worth of disputed construction costs. Cook's findings, sent to Holm in a four-page letter that day, were dire. During his review of construction procedures, Cook concluded that portions of the three-year-old, $370 million ballpark might be in danger of collapsing.

Approximately 1,500 anchor bolts -- called Dywidag bars -- that support the stadium's grandstands had not been properly installed and were in danger of twisting loose, Cook's letter said. The Dywidag bars are used to secure 87 steel trusses to concrete columns. The trusses, in turn, support sections of the stadium's lower deck, the suite level boxes, and the press box. If the Dywidags were to fail, the result could be a catastrophic collapse of sections of the ballpark.

"These fasteners simply were not installed in a manner which is proper for a long-life, permanent structure with lives at stake in the event of failure," Cook's letter stated.

The Diamondbacks were on a road trip to Montreal when Cook's startling warning reached the front office. When the team returned to Phoenix one week later, more than 31,000 fans poured into the ballpark to watch the D-Backs defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates. Those fans were among the 2.9 million people who entered the ballpark last summer, never knowing that serious questions had been raised about the structural integrity of the stadium.

The cash-strapped Diamondbacks kept Cook's warning secret. Not only were fans kept in the dark, but the team did not formally notify the owner of the ballpark, the Maricopa County Stadium District, until late August, when it finally forwarded a copy of Cook's warning letter, stadium district records show.

The Diamondbacks, who have day-to-day control of the stadium's operations, did not follow up on Cook's concerns by immediately examining the suspect Dywidag bars. Instead, with the blessing of the engineers who helped build the stadium, they waited to conduct an inspection until six days after the baseball season ended -- almost five months after Cook had sent his urgent fax to the team.

And even when an inspection was conducted on October 9, no one turned any of the one-inch nuts to see if they were loose. Inspectors simply looked for cracked paint, a sign of possible movement. The eyeball inspection, which was conducted by the stadium's engineers, Martin/Martin, and paid for by the team, found that all the Dywidag nuts were fastened securely, even though many of the nuts are hidden from view by walls and other obstructions.

Although Cook's concerns may have been somewhat alleviated by Martin/Martin's inspection, the team's handling of the Dywidag alarm raises real questions about the way Bank One Ballpark was built, and how the Diamondbacks are operating it. Those concerns could spread beyond the ballpark.

The Diamondbacks general partner -- Jerry Colangelo -- already controls the operation of America West Arena, which is owned by the city of Phoenix. And Colangelo may soon play a day-to-day role in the Arizona Cardinals' new stadium. Colangelo is strongly pushing for the new football stadium to be built in downtown Phoenix near Bank One Ballpark and America West Arena.

Bank One Ballpark records show that Cook's original concern that the Dywidag nuts were not properly fastened has some merit. Rather than using a hydraulic wrench to securely and precisely fasten the Dywidag nuts at a specific tension -- as engineers had originally planned -- Bank One Ballpark construction workers instead pounded on a wrench with a sledgehammer to tighten the nuts. Workers were unable to use power tools because the bars were "inadvertently mislocated" and not enough clearance was left around the Dywidag nuts to use the hydraulic wrench, stadium district records reveal.

Using the "Bubba" method to fasten such critical connections sounds far-fetched to the structural steel assembler at the Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4 construction project. The airport project is using similar connections as those at the ballpark.

"I question whether that [hammer to wrench technique] is quite right," says Cary Newton, president of J.D. Steel. "We are not doing that at the airport, I can guarantee you that."

In addition to the unusual tightening technique employed at Bank One, district records and interviews also reveal no one has yet reviewed in detail the Dywidag inspection reports that were compiled during construction by the ballpark's field inspection firm, ATL Inc., to determine what nuts were inspected and if proper manual tightening procedures were followed.

Furthermore, what records that have been reviewed have been described by the team as unreliable.

The team's admission that inspections were poorly recorded alarms Newton. "If you don't have anybody there recording inspections, then you have a big problem," he says. "If it was my building, I would be very concerned."

Such worries, however, are not shared by the stadium district or the team.

"Why lose sleep over it?" says former stadium district director Bob Williams, who oversaw construction of the ballpark and now is directing the county's jail construction program. Williams says the ballpark's engineering team reported that the Dywidags were installed properly, and that has satisfied the district that the building is safe.

Why, then, did Cook raise the concerns?

Diamondbacks president Rich Dozer says he has no idea why Cook wrote his letter, and Cook declines to comment.

Stadium district officials, however, offer one theory. In an overzealous effort to strengthen their negotiating position during the contentious cost-overrun settlement discussions, the Diamondbacks, several stadium district officials speculate, may have encouraged Cook to issue a warning letter, but got far more than they bargained for.

"They [Diamondbacks] were looking for a way to sue somebody," says Maricopa County Stadium District director Bill Scalzo.

So is Bank One Ballpark unsafe for the millions of fans who enter each year? The team and stadium district say no. Cook, the engineer who first issued the warning, is no longer commenting on his report.

Or did the Dywidag connections become part of the team's legal strategy that backfired in a most unexpected way?

These questions aside, two things are certain. To this day, no one independent of those involved in building the ballpark has reviewed Cook's concerns about the Dywidag installation. And, to this day, no one has turned a single Dywidag nut to make sure it was properly tightened.

The Bank One Ballpark was built at breakneck speed, with design work on critical areas frequently completed just weeks ahead of construction. Mistakes plagued the project, driving the cost up from an estimated $278 million to more than $370 million by the time it was completed in March 1998. The Diamondbacks were responsible for all costs above the first $238 million -- which was covered by Maricopa County taxpayers through a since-expired quarter-cent sales tax.

The $92 million cost overrun, combined with an $85 million payroll for the fledgling baseball team, has driven expenses far beyond what Diamondback managing partner Jerry Colangelo told investors to expect when he enticed more than a dozen mostly corporate backers to buy the expansion team for $130 million.

Colangelo has been forced to seek $53 million in additional funds from investors. Their reluctance to continue investing in the team became apparent last summer, when Colangelo was forced to borrow an estimated $10 million to $20 million. The loan reportedly was co-signed by Major League Baseball. The team's financial problems are tied to declining attendance, even after the team won 100 games and the National League Western Division title in 1999.

Ramon J. Cook's letter raising serious safety concerns about the ballpark came at a critical time for the team. If fans steered clear of the ballpark for any reason, the team would lose much-needed revenue. The team, according to published reports, lost about $12.5 million during the 2000 season.

At the same time, Cook's letter could provide leverage for the team to shift responsibility for some of the construction cost overruns to someone else. Reducing expenses has been a top priority for the team this year. The Diamondbacks have been aggressively cutting costs, laying off office personnel, and persuading the city to cover all police and traffic control expenses, a move that will save the team $800,000 a year.

The Dywidag bars and nuts Cook referred to are critical components in the stadium's design. The threaded bars, which look like thick, long bolts, are embedded anywhere from four to 15 feet deep into concrete columns. One end of each bar protrudes from the column and is used to anchor steel trusses to the column.

There can be as many as 16 Dywidag bars and nuts securing each end of a cantilever steel truss to a column. The trusses support pre-cast concrete grandstands.

As important as they are, the nuts on the Dywidag bars are supposed to be tightened to a specific tension, a task that is typically performed with a hydraulic jack calibrated to provide the proper torque.

But when the stadium was being built, stadium district records show, the Dywidag bars were not placed properly in the concrete columns. After it was too late to do anything about it, workers discovered there was not enough clearance around the nuts to use specially designed "hydraulic ram jacks" to tighten the nuts to the manufacturer's specification.

This was a significant problem that had the potential to trigger costly delays.

"We need to aggressively work together with all due speed to resolve the problems," stated a December 27, 1996, memo from Schuff Steel Company to the general contractor, Perini/Tutor-Saliba. At the same time, Schuff Steel asked Martin/Martin for advice on how to proceed.

A few weeks later, Martin/Martin had developed an alternative: Construction workers would bang the nuts tight with a wrench and a four-pound hammer. A test was designed to determine whether a worker using these hand tools could tighten the nut on a one-inch diameter Dywidag bar to reach a design specification of 26 kilopounds of torque.

The first test fell far short, topping out at 17 kilopounds. A week later, a second round of testing was conducted. This time the lubricant WD40 was sprayed on the Dywidag bar before the nuts were tightened. Using the WD40 allowed a worker to pound the nuts to 27 kilopounds of torque.

The same test was used on thicker-diameter Dywidag bars -- 11/4-inch and 13/8-inch bars. However, workers were only able to achieve 25.5 kilopounds of torque, far below the design specifications of 50 kilopounds for the 11/4-inch and 60 kilopounds for the 13/8-inch bar.

Nevertheless, Martin/Martin approved the hammer/WD40 method for securing nuts to Dywidag bars in February and March 1997, with several stipulations. The most important requirement was that "all tightening shall be done with full-time inspection. Bolts tightened without full-time inspection shall be removed, re-lubricated, and retighten[ed] with full-time inspection."

In an interview, Martin/Martin attorney Hartley Alley says each connection was inspected by the ballpark's field inspection company, ATL Incorporated. "A visual inspection is what's required for every single nut, and that's my understanding of what was done on every single nut by ATL," Alley says.

ATL president Frank Rivera declined to comment on the matter.

The stadium district and the team have not reviewed all of ATL's inspection records related to the approximately 1,500 Dywidag nuts throughout the ballpark.

The records that have been reviewed, however, appear to be inadequate.

Diamondbacks attorney "Brad [Holm] said that the ATL records are not very good, not very specific and are confusing," an October 5 memo prepared by Bob Williams states. "At the bottom line, Brad is not very optimistic that good records exist."

ATL's field inspection records had been long forgotten and packed away until Ramon Cook came crashing onto the scene last May.

Ramon Cook's May 16 letter set off a flurry of activity among the team, the engineers at Martin/Martin and the stadium's architect, Ellerbe Becket. Left notably out of the loop was the Maricopa County Stadium District, which owns the ballpark.

Cook, who did not return several phone calls placed to his home in Schertz, Texas, stated in his fax that the main cause for concern was whether the nuts were securely fastened to the Dywidag bars.

"I feel the Dywidag bars employed as anchorage for many life-safety-critical connections may be loose and ineffective as structural connections where they MUST ALWAYS be secure," he stated in his four-page letter.

Cook stated that Dywidag bars are designed with coarse threads making it relatively easy for the nuts to come loose, particularly when jarred by the vibrations of thousands of enthusiastic baseball fans. "I know this nature of this bar was badly misunderstood by all parties putting it into service in the Stadium we are working with today," he stated.

Worried that vibrations caused by jam-packed stands could cause the nuts to loosen, Cook recommended that the nuts be spot-welded to prevent them from "backing off," or starting to come loose.

Cook concluded his letter with a recommendation that "someone take action to prove or disprove my statements by examination of all the steel in the place. If ANY loosening is found ANYWHERE, all these thread-bar fasteners must be immediately made secure by any one of several available steel assembly methods."

Cook did not stop with the fax to the Diamondbacks. He also relayed his concerns by telephone to John R. Wasson, who as project coordinator directed construction of the stadium for the Diamondbacks. After conferring with Cook, Wasson sent a May 16 letter to Diamondbacks president Rich Dozer and team attorney Brad Holm "strongly" recommending that the Dywidag nuts "be physically inspected by a structural engineer to make sure that no loosening of the nuts has occurred."

Wasson repeated his recommendation a second time in the letter, concluding that the inspection should be done "as soon as possible." Contacted at his Hillsborough, California, office, Wasson declined to comment.

But Wasson's recommendation for an immediate inspection was rejected by engineers at Martin/Martin three days later. Instead, the engineering firm stated in a May 19 letter to ballpark architect Ellerbe Becket that "based on our engineering design and assuming the nuts were installed properly, we do not believe there is reason for concern."

The letter, prepared by Martin/Martin's principal engineer Stanley Welton, stated that the nuts were "torqued tensioned based on a tested tightening procedure developed by Schuff Steel at the time of installation." (District records state that it was Martin/Martin that developed the tightening procedure at Schuff Steel's request.)

Welton stated that critical nuts on the upper concourse keep the grandstands from tipping forward. Since there is downward pressure on the nuts brought by the weight of the pre-cast concrete grandstands, "it [is] highly unlikely that the nuts would become loose under vibrations transmitted through the trusses," he stated.

The nuts on the upper concourse, however, were only tightened to about one-half of the tension called for in the original blueprints, stadium district records reveal.

Nevertheless, Welton sidestepped Wasson's recommendation to perform a physical inspection of every nut by noting that visual inspections were already supposed to have been done by ATL during construction.

"Perhaps the owner should hire ATL or a structural engineer to visually inspect the nuts to determine if they are tight," Welton concluded.

Despite the conflicting opinions on the type and timing of inspections that should be performed, the issue died down for about six weeks. It resurfaced once again, however, when it was brought up by Geiger Engineers, a New York firm that was hired during construction to provide "peer review" of Martin/Martin's engineering.

In a July 7 letter to Diamondbacks attorney Holm, Geiger principal Paul Gossen raised new concerns that the nuts might not be tightened correctly, especially in places where up to 16 Dywidag bars were used to secure a single truss.

"Even though the first installed bars in a connection may have had an initial tension as specified, the subsequent installation of the rest of the bars would relax the tension in these bars.

"Unless the tension in all the bars were checked and re-tensioned after the installation of all bars in a connection, there is a possibility that some of the bars are not pre-tensioned as desired," Gossen stated.

Gossen recommended that all the nuts on a minimum of three connections be examined to determine if any are loose.

Ten days later, on July 17, Geiger sent a second letter to Holm that suggested testing of the nuts could be done simply by applying a wrench with a "torque of 20 foot-pounds in the tightening rotation. If there is no movement on the nut, the nut is properly seated."

Geiger recommended expanding the test to a minimum of 10 connections, which could include up to 16 bolts each, to determine whether the nuts were securely fastened. The company also suggested that "it may be advantageous to take that opportunity to lock the nuts on the rods with a spot weld."

By late July, the team knew that two engineering companies and the former project manager for the construction of the ballpark had raised concerns over the safety of Dywidag nuts securing thousands of seats to the stadium walls.

Yet the team still had not formally notified the stadium district.

The district says it finally discovered there was a debate raging over the safety of the stadium on July 24, when Ellerbe Becket provided the district with a copy of a letter it had sent to Diamondbacks attorney Holm. The letter got the district's immediate attention.

"As we previously advised you concerning the alleged potential Dywidag problem at Bank One Ballpark, Ellerbe Becket, Inc.'s overriding concern is for the safety of all who could be put at risk. Once again, we urge your clients, and the District, to act without delay to ensure that any alleged potential problem does not pose any safety threat of any type at any time," the letter signed by Joseph C. Gross, Ellerbe Becket's principal, stated.

The Gross letter set off alarm bells at the stadium district, and special counsel Tom Irvine immediately contacted the team's attorneys to demand a complete report related to "any safety problem associated with any part of the Dywidag system."

Holm did not respond to Irvine's request for documentation for another month. The district did not receive a copy of Cook's alarm letter and supporting documentation outlining Martin/Martin's alternative tightening procedure and stipulation for field inspection during tightening of each Dywidag nut until August 21.

Despite the three-month delay in providing documentation of a possible serious structural problem in the 49,500-seat ballpark, the stadium district only mildly rebuked the team, issuing a verbal reprimand for failing to immediately disclose the controversy. Stadium district director Bill Scalzo says the team was warned that such a lapse of communication could not be repeated. The team, Scalzo says, offered only a vague explanation as to why it did not immediately notify the district of the potential structural defect.

"The only explanation to us was they felt they were pursuing it as rapidly as possible," Scalzo says.

The Diamondbacks offer a starkly different version of events.

Team president Rich Dozer says the stadium district was aware of Cook's concerns in late May. Dozer says the team immediately contacted Martin/Martin after it received Cook's May 16 letter. The engineering firm, Dozer says in an interview, verbally told the team there was nothing to worry about.

About a week later, Dozer says he was in San Francisco during cost-overrun settlement negotiations with contractors and the ballpark's designers, including representatives from Martin/Martin. During a break in the negotiations, Dozer says a Martin/Martin official gave him a letter stating "that there were no problems" with the ballpark.

According to Dozer, the stadium district's attorney, Tom Irvine, was present when he received the letter and participated in ensuing discussions about the Dywidag issue.

"So the district, at that point and time, knew what was going on," Dozer says.

Irvine says he never participated in any discussions during the May meetings in San Francisco related to the Dywidag controversy. "He may think I was there," Irvine says. "I wasn't."

Irvine says he didn't learn about Cook's letter until July 24, and that he immediately notified the stadium district director, Bill Scalzo. Scalzo, in turn, asked his predecessor, Bob Williams, to review the situation and develop his own independent assessment.

"When I heard about it, I went right over to the stadium and looked at the [Dywidags] I could see. You know, it caused a question in my mind," Williams says in an interview.

He says he began retracing in his mind all the issues that arose around the testing protocol and the required inspections of each nut. His first impression was that Cook's concern that the nuts could be loose was off base. "I didn't think it was a possibility," Williams says.

But, Williams says, there was a nagging doubt.

"What the guy says in the letter is kind of true. Those Dywidag bars have a kind of a coarse thread and that's a very big coarse nut -- it's not like a fine thread that you would think would tighten securely forever. I mean, I didn't know. It planted a seed in my mind and I went running right over just to have a look. You can't see all of them, but you can see a lot of them," he says.

The ones that are hidden are the most critical because they are on the upper concourse and support steel trusses that keep the grandstands from tipping forward.

"Those on the upper concourse are basically behind something, either behind a piece of drywall or behind something. I mean, they are concealed from view. They are all critical," Williams says.

Adding further urgency to the situation was an August 22 report from Dywidag International officials to the Diamondbacks that "reiterated that wrench tightening the Dywidag could not achieve" the recommended tension for fastening the nuts at the ballpark.

By late August, efforts to coordinate a meeting between Martin/Martin, Cook and representatives of Dywidag International were under way. But a September 1 meeting planned at the ballpark to resolve the issue was never held.

Once again, all efforts to resolve the issue -- or even test the tightness of the nuts -- came to a halt, records show.

In early October, a freelance reporter for the Phoenix Business Journal submitted a public records request to review all documents related to the Dywidag installation. The request triggered a panic within the team and the stadium district.

Williams contacted Diamondbacks president Dozer and relayed his concerns about a possible news story on the Dywidag connections. According to Williams' October 5 memo, Dozer says the team did not take Cook's concerns seriously.

"I told him I fundamentally agreed, but explained my concerns," Williams' memo states.

Williams, according to the memo, told Dozer that the district and the Board of Supervisors believed they -- and the team -- could not "stand the bad press that could be generated by an irresponsible report."

In addition, Williams told Dozer the district was also concerned that the issue had been on the table since May "and not one nut had been physically checked."

Williams noted that Diamondbacks attorney Holm had told the reporter, David Schwartz, that the team was waiting for delivery of a calibrated wrench to conduct tests on 10 connections -- or about 120 bolts -- no later than October 9.

Schwartz told Holm, according to Williams' memo, that he might hold his story for the results of the tests.

The team never conducted the torque tests on the nuts.

And Schwartz never wrote the story.

The mere possibility of a news story provided the stadium district with additional leverage to force the team to initiate some type of tests on the bolts that might resolve the issues raised in Cook's letter.

Tom Irvine fired off letters to the team on October 3, 4 and 5 demanding the Diamondbacks produce a report addressing the issues raised by Cook.

Irvine said the report would be made available to Schwartz, who was thought to be preparing a story with an angle that the team was delaying the repair of a potentially serious safety issue because of its poor financial condition.

Irvine concluded the series of letters by threatening to invoke a clause in the team's stadium use agreement requiring a formal meeting to resolve the alleged safety issue.

On October 9, Martin/Martin principal Stanley Welton examined "all of the accessible Dywidag connections" looking for evidence of cracked paint around the nuts, he stated in a memo to the team's attorney.

Welton gave no indication how many connections he looked at -- other than a somewhat vague statement that he looked at "approximately 80% of the critical connections that are exposed to view." Welton declined to comment for this story, referring questions to his attorney.

"There was no sign of any movement in any of the connections that I observed," he stated in a letter to Diamondbacks attorney Holm.

Welton's inspection falls far short of a complete review. According to a stadium district official, Welton did not look at any of the critical upper concourse Dywidag nuts -- the same nuts that were only tightened to half the tension specified in the original plans -- because they are behind walls.

Welton's assessment was relayed to former stadium district director Bob Williams rather than current stadium district director Bill Scalzo.

"Stan inspected the Ballpark yesterday, gives it a clean bill of health, and recommends no further testing," Williams stated in a memo sent to each member of the County Board of Supervisors.

"In my opinion, this is sufficient to close the book on this issue," Williams wrote to supervisors.

Notably, Williams made his recommendation not as a stadium district official, but in his capacity as director of the Criminal Justice Facilities Development Department. The stadium district has yet to take a formal, written position on the Dywidag issue or Welton's conclusions.

The stadium district's unofficial position is to accept Welton's conclusions based on a limited visual inspection of the nuts, and Williams' review of the situation.

"People from our end who were involved in construction reviewed everything and determined there wasn't an issue," says stadium district director Scalzo.

Williams was quick to close the book on the issue even though he had reason to doubt the reliability of Martin/Martin's inspection.

Williams' own records indicate that Martin/Martin was prepared to conclude the Dywidag bolts were properly secured even before it conducted its visual inspection or reviewed ATL's inspection reports to determine whether the Dywidag nuts were properly installed.

According to Williams' October 5 memo, Martin/Martin had promised the Diamondbacks -- before any tests had been done on the connections -- that it would issue a letter "stating there are no structural problems in this regard and that would close it for the team."

Williams, according to his memo, asked the team how Martin/Martin could make such a determination "without the test records on tightening of the nuts."

Williams' memo doesn't indicate what the team's response was to his question.

He did, however, share his personal thoughts on the matter.

"I guess that is their business," the memo stated.

A week after Martin/Martin issued its conclusion, Geiger Engineers, the peer reviewer for Martin/Martin who in July recommended physically testing the tightness of nuts with a torque wrench, backed Welton's conclusion.

"Since he [Welton] apparently did not see any cracked paint, we concur with his conclusion that no movements occurred at the nuts," Paul Gossen stated in a letter to the team.

In an interview, Gossen says he was amenable to changing the testing protocol for the nuts from one where a wrench would be placed and actually tightened to see if the nuts were loose to simply looking at the paint for cracks.

He changed his mind because, he says, the issue is not how tight the bolts were originally placed, but whether they can now move.

"The nuts have not moved one bit; it's fine. There is no concern," he says.

Cook also appears to be satisfied that the nuts are not currently loose. Referring to Welton's and Gossen's reports, Cook said they "indicate no Dywidag nuts are loose."

But Cook added a caveat.

"I understand the Team will check the Dywidags in the future as Martin/Martin may recommend," he stated in a December 4 letter to Holm.

Looking for cracks in paint to check the tightness of nuts does not impress Cary Newton, the steel fabricator at Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4. "This is the first time I have ever heard of something like this," Newton says.

The entire Dywidag affair at the ballpark, he says, is unusual.

The fact that the nuts could not be tightened as specified with a hydraulic jack is an indication of a basic design flaw, he says. And relying on workers to tighten the nuts with a hammer will likely generate inconsistent results.

The lack of readily accessible inspection reports on the tightening of each bolt would be unacceptable at his current project.

"That is a pretty poor way of doing what they are trying to do," Newton says. "There is no way I could get away with something like that at the airport."

Stadium district officials speculate that the reason Cook's ominous warning letter surfaced has more to do with legal tactics, and attempts by the Diamondbacks to strong-arm their construction partners for money, than serious construction problems.

"They had an engineer write memos saying the building is unsafe. It's all horseshit. It's a proud Chicago tradition. Instead of guns, they are now using lawyers," says a private attorney familiar with the issue.

The $35 million cost-overrun claims filed by contractors was settled for $11 million on May 26 -- just 10 days after Cook's letter surfaced. The Diamondbacks ended up paying $3.6 million of the settlement, while Ellerbe Becket kicked in $600,000 and Martin/Martin $300,000. The bulk of the payments -- $6 million -- was covered by an insurance policy.

Records indicate that the Diamondbacks have tried to persuade Ellerbe Becket to contribute to possible expenses related to the Dywidags.

Diamondbacks president Dozer says the team hoped that Ellerbe Becket might be willing to pay for costs associated with further inspections of the Dywidag bars and nuts -- a cost the architects refused to share with the team.

Dozer says the Cook letter did not provide any leverage in negotiations with Ellerbe Becket, although he admits he wished it did.

"I wish that was a hammer because there was no hammer with Ellerbe Becket," Dozer says. "They were very difficult throughout the negotiations."

Dozer also says the team never placed much credence in Cook's scary assessment of the ballpark for a variety of reasons.

"He's never seen our Dywidags. He was not hired to look at the Dywidags. He's only been in the building once, maybe twice," Dozer says. And when Cook was at the ballpark, Dozer says it was "never to look at the Dywidags."

In fact, Dozer says Cook was never contracted by anyone associated with the team to prepare a report on the Dywidags.

Instead, Cook was under contract with Hill International, a New Jersey design company hired by the Diamondbacks, to help review the legitimacy of cost-overrun claims filed by contractors. Dozer says Hill International was surprised when Cook sent the Diamondbacks his Dywidag report.

"He doesn't even send it to Hill, who he was working for," Dozer says. "He sends it out of the blue to us. Hill's like, 'What did he do this for?'"

Hill International officials declined to comment.

Dozer says the team acted responsibly upon receiving the Cook report by immediately contacting Martin/Martin, which assured the team in writing that everything was fine.

In addition, Dozer says the team also paid for the October 9 visual inspection of some of the Dywidags by Martin/Martin -- an inspection that Dozer says confirmed the Dywidags were tight.

Dozer rejects suggestions that the team's financial troubles played a factor in the team's slow response in testing the bolts. The delays were caused by engineers debating on what was the best way to test the bolts.

"I wanted this thing resolved right away," he says. "If I drag my feet and something happens a week later, I would have to live with something like that the rest of my life. No way."

If the visual inspection had shown a problem, Dozer says the team was prepared to do whatever was necessary to fix the problem.

"We would rip apart the building and look for everything we could find."

The visual inspection on which Dozer bases his promise for aggressive action, however, falls short of what Cook, the team's own construction manager, John Wasson, and Geiger Engineers initially recommended to do to alleviate concerns about the Dywidag connections.

All three recommended that the Dywidag connections be physically inspected to see if any nuts were loose.

So far, no one has placed a wrench to a single Dywidag nut and tried to it give a twist.

For more information on Bank One Ballpark construction issues:
(Problems of Roofian Proportion, December 11, 1997)
(Fiddling With the Roof, April 9, 1998)
(Problems of Roofian Proportion, March 9, 2000)

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