KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Joplin has ended its contract with a Texas-based contractor leading tornado recovery efforts after the firm skipped town as its co-founders resigned.
The southwest Missouri community announced Wednesday that it severed ties with Wallace Bajjali Development Partners a day earlier. The city cited “gross negligence, fraud, and willful misconduct” among reasons for the move.
The Sugar Land, Texas, firm was hired in 2012 after presenting a plan for $800 million in projects to help Joplin rebuild from a 2011 tornado that destroyed a large swath of the city and killed 161 residents. Wallace Bajjali was paid about $1.68 million by Joplin before the city learned third-hand that the firm’s office had closed. Joplin officials later learned that the co-founders had resigned.
The firm’ former leaders haven’t returned calls seeking comment.