Port of Galveston takes legal action to have container cranes removed

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 23, 2009, 6:17pm

GALVESTON - The Port of Galveston is seeking assistance from a state district judge in initiating the removal of heavy machinery from its premises, recent court documents say.

In a lawsuit filed against CRP International LLC and its manager Charles Richard Perez, the port requests that Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia issue an order compelling the defendants to take four container cranes and associated parts away from Pier 10 on the city's East End and pay delinquent storage fees.

The defendants purchased the property in question at an auction in April 2008, the original petition says.

It adds "some of the items have been removed from plaintiff's property."

The plaintiff alleges it repeatedly demanded Perez to remove the cranes, which are known Galveston landmarks, and pay approximately $150,000 in accrued storage charges amassed between November 2008 and last month.

"The defendants have promised on several occasions to perform certain acts, none of which have been performed," the suit says. "Among other things, the defendants agreed to remove the cranes by May 10, 2009, but failed to honor that obligation."

The case shows the port wrote the defendants, setting a final deadline for removal and payment for the afternoon of Aug. 21, 2009.

It argues the deadline passed with the cranes still in place and no money received.

"The defendants failed to remove the cranes and pay the storage fees by the deadline," the suit states.

Port director Steve Cernak told The Galveston County Daily News last week that the cranes pose a safety problem and harm the port's efforts to grow.

Consequently, the plaintiff demands restitution mostly in the amount of the total costs of storing and removing the cranes.

The law offices of McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel in Galveston are representing the port.

Case No. 09CV1609

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