Board Discusses Harris Teeter ‘Claims’ in Closed Session

by ARLnow.com January 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm 1,959 45 Comments

County Board Chair Walter Tejada at the Board's Jan. 29 meetingA sewage backup that flooded an Arlington Harris Teeter store last May is still causing a stink in the backrooms of county government.

The Harris Teeter at 3600 S. Glebe Road, near Potomac Yard, remains closed with no reopening date in sight. The grocery store was flooded with raw sewage on May 11, 2012, due to a clog at the nearby Arlington County Water Pollution Control Plan.

Earlier this month, Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius told ARLnow.com that “no civil lawsuits have been filed” against the county as a result of the sewage incident. But at its Tuesday meeting the County Board adjourned to closed session to discuss, as County Board Chair Walter Tejada put it, “two matters requiring consultation with the County Attorney and staff concerning pending claims made by Harris Teeter and others, arising from an incident on May 11, 2012.”

It’s unclear what “claims” are being made. Asked about the behind-closed-doors session, Curtius declined further comment.

Harris Teeter says they’re “actively working with both the county and our landlord to discuss solutions to make sure that which happened does not happen again,” but a company rep declined to give additional specifics.

The closed session was not the only hush-hush County Board action to take place on Tuesday. The Washington Post reports that the Board unanimously approved 5 to 10 percent raises for three top county officials at the end of the public meeting. The raises come as the county faces a $25 to 50 million budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year.

  • Deadite

    This stinks.

  • fedworker

    Closed session. That’s crap

    • KalashniKEV

      That’s “The Arlington Way.”

      • drax

        No, it’s perfectly normal when matters involving legal negotiations are being discussed, just as with things like personnel matters.

        Keep moaning about normal stuff though, it just shows how you guys don’t understand what’s going on.

        • Trent

          So, it is The Arlington Way?

  • JohnB2

    A 5-10% raise in this economy? That’s ballsy.

    • KalashniKEV

      Maybe they can pursue their whims and desires with their own personal funds now…

    • Patrick

      Not really. Last year the CB voted themselves raises while simultaneously increasing the tax rate. The sheep of this district will never punish the CB for such callousness.

      • drax

        Yes, keep calling them “sheep.” Keep insulting those you want to win over. It will work out great.

  • SouthPikeGuy

    Harris Teeter says they’re “actively working with both the county and our landlord to discuss solutions to make sure that which happened does not happen again,”

    Well, now this quote and what was said in the previous article have become abundantly clear. HT is in the cat bird seat with a “pay up or we will see you in court” position.

    • yappydogs

      At this point I hope the County just pays up so we can get the Harris Teeter back. Those of us in the Crystal City area miss the store.

      • Heather

        Amen to that. The Giant on Glebe just isn’t the same. And forget about finding parking at the Harris Teeter at Pentagon Row.

        • Artie Fufkin

          I missed the store, but parking isn’t a problem at Pentagon Row. There is plenty of parking in the underground garage. Teeter validates.

        • WD

          It’s more that the Pentagon Row store is horrible. Lower quality controls and much lower selection.

          • Mo in VA

            I agree. Produce and prepared foods were much better at the Crystal City store.

    • WeiQiang

      open HT … or get back to sending me my 40% off HT coupons. 😎

  • Novastephanie

    Were any other businesses or residences affected by this sewage back-up? Harris Teeter seems to be the only place that needed to close for 10+ months. Kind of makes one wonder if they are just milking it for all it’s worth.

    • KLB

      There weren’t any reports of any other businesses but the Porsche dealer and the Metro Bus facility both sit between Harris Teeter and the plant.

      • WL95

        It’s all about elevation and location of the break.

        • WeiQiang

          /\ this /\

    • Johnny K

      I think there was a post a couple mos back saying HT wouldn’t reopen until the County makes assurances that this would never happen again.

  • Raises!

    Ok I can see Hope getting a raise, but the other two are complete BS. Barbara doesn’t even live in Arlington! Way to go Tejada, we appreciate you welcoming us to your new tenure as chairman.

    • drax

      You have to live in the county now to get a raise for working for the county?

  • unreal

    the last “raise” i have gotten in the 5-10% range happened in 2005. complete BS arlington county.

  • GoodOmens

    Got to love publicly elected officials holding closed door sessions.

    • drax

      It’s perfectly normal when discussing personnel, legal or other sensitive matters.

      Next you’ll insist that Congress hold open hearing on the activities of the CIA.

      • ACDC Hack

        and just when DID you stop beating your wife, eh Drax ???

        • drax

          Uh, no, you used that wrong.

      • ACDC Hack

        So you are comparing talking about responsibility for a sewage backup and what the CIA does ??


        • drax

          No, I’m saying that secrecy is normal in some cases, and that even you can think of examples if you try hard enough.

          If Congress has a hearing about being sued for a sewage backup, they should have a secret hearing too.

          • ACDC Hack

            “If Congress has a hearing about being sued for a sewage backup, they should have a secret hearing too.”

            Only in “Drax World”……….

          • drax

            Nope, in the real world.

            This is a classic case of people not know what the hell they are talking about and reacting out of their ignorance. This is perfectly normal practice.

        • DCBuff

          Sewage backup–CIA job.

          • drax

            Security. Legal negotiations. Personnel matters.

            All justify secrecy. Perfectly normal. All lawmaking bodies in America do it.

  • JohnRambo

    Can’t wait to see what the Real Estate Assessment Percentage is going to be now….will they go to .099 or .01 on assessed value? Zimmerman, Tejada and cronies need to go and we need some fiscally sound minds on the board otherwise Arlington will be on its way to Detroit or New Orleans.

    • JamesE

      I actually just got mine, didn’t change from last year.

      • Patrick

        Tax rate not assessment. The tax rate will be voted on in April.

    • emptynester

      detroit – kewl!!! then I can get a nice big house close to the Orange line, and make my commute lovely, and my wife doesn’t have to declutter. And we will have plenty of $$ left over for Frozen Yoghurt.

      • novasteve

        Spoken like someone who obviously has never been to detroit. I can’t imagine what canadians must think entering it through Windsor, ON.. Did you know there are US cities that are very affordable that aren’t hell on earth like Detroit is?

        • Artie Fufkin

          Canadians are thinking that there is a place on earth that’s worse than Windsor.

  • Alex

    Wow, these guys are giving themselves raises when they can’t even balance a budget that’s flooded with pet projects?

  • AlexJ

    The lost revenue to HT must be enormous by now. They have every right to move out and back charge those responsible for their investment in that location, at a minimum.

    • Zzzzzz

      That would be you, as an Arlington taxpayer.

  • Charlotte

    How about a little more reporting on those raises? If it happened at the end of the public meeting (and was on the agenda) then it wasn’t hush-hush. Did it? Was it? When was the last time these officials (who are they again? what titles?) got raises? How do their salaries compare with the salaries of county officials in other nearby jurisdictions?

    • Katharine Graham

      How about a little more reporting on those raises?

      Read the story in yesterday’s Washington Post. It has the answers to all of your questions.


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