Construction firm to sue council over Casino contract cancellation

The construction company Willemen is taking legal action against the municipal authorities in the West Flemish coastal resort of Middelkerke after they decided to halt the planned construction of a new casino building. The Mayor of Middelkerke Jean-Marie Dedecker (List Dedecker) told journalists that Willemen’s decision doesn’t come as a surprise. However, he is not worried by the construction firm’s decision to sue. 

They can take legal action, it won’t scare us off. We will simply carry on. I see this as a desperate attempt by them to salvage the reputation”, Mr Dedecker said.  

Meanwhile, the municipal authorities have decided that a big wheel will occupy the site on which the casino was to have been built. The big wheel will remain in place for the duration of the summer. It should be in place by 7 June, just ahead of Middelkerke’s “Beer Weekend”.   

Last week the municipal authorities in Middelkerke announced that the contract with Willmen to build the casino had been annulled and that a new call to tender would be launched. In the past the current Mayor of Middelkerke Jean-Marie Dedecker had fought against the casino project that he said was fraught with corruption and nepotism.  A criminal investigation is currently running into possible irregularities when the contract was awarded

However, now Willemen has announced that it intends to take legal action against the unilateral decision by the municipal authorities to annul the contract. The company denies any wrong doing and is demanding compensation, not only for the costs incurred thus far, but also for damage to its reputation that it claims to have suffered. Although no exact figure has been quoted it is believed that the company is aiming to get compensation running into millions of euro.