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WHA, Sparks reach agreement

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The legal fight between the Wilmington Housing Authority and a former Wilmington City Councilman is over.

Ronald Sparks released a joint statement with WHA and Sparks Engineering Friday that said, "The parties are pleased to announce that all matters at issue have been resolved to the satisfaction of the parties, pursuant to the provisions of a Settlement Agreement that has been executed by the parties, and ratified by the Board of Wilmington Housing Authority and HUD."

Details of the agreement were not released.

Back in 2005, WHA hired Sparks Engineering to inspect Eastbrook Apartments on Princess Place. After the structural inspection, Sparks recommended the property for purchase. After the purchase, though, residents complained about mold and moisture forcing the Housing Authority to evacuate the apartments, which still sit empty.

The case moved through the court system for five years before finally going to trial in January. After the trial started, the two sides announced a tentative settlement.

According to Sparks's release, under the settlement, neither he nor his engineering firm admit liability. With the settlement, WHA has dismissed its fraud claim against Sparks.

"The Wilmington Housing Authority does not believe that Mr. Sparks intentionally made any misrepresentations in connection with the services that he performed for the Wilmington Housing Authority," the statement read. "No aspect of the settlement involved any payment associated with these allegations. This case involved complex issues and the settlement of this case should not be viewed by anyone as an indication of the parties' beliefs about the strengths and/or weaknesses of any party’s position. This settlement represents a desire on the part of everyone involved to
avoid further expense and delay associated with the final resolution of this matter."

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