The city of Brookfield says it will not pay an insurance claim alleging the city's water utility did damage to the Glen of Brookfield development over the winter.
The claim, made by Hanover Insurance Company on behalf of Cornerstone Development, asserts that the city left a water valve open, allowing water to leak into the development, causing more than $13,000 damage.
Finance Director Robert Scott insists that the city would have no reason to go on private property during construction in a case like this.
"The problem is, there's no record or work orders about being in that area and whether the valve was open," he explained.
Hanover, for its part, claimed the city is the only entity with the unique key to turn the water on and off. It was further speculated that perhaps the city had been flushing the pipes using hydrants and that may have somehow caused this water damage.
It was a claim Scott and city officials flatly rejected, saying that the city doesn't flush in January.
"You're not putting water in the street when it's 15 degrees outside."
Scott did offer a potential alternative theory as to how the water got into the pipes and subsequently into the housing project.
"We believe the contractor froze the pipe and it thawed," Scott explained. "It's not an uncommon practice, particularly with cold weather that they literally can freeze the pipe so any water that could get in there doesn't flow."
The city is saying that it has no record of any work being done on the pipe, which means the city isn't liable for any damages as a result. Scott's hypothesis about the developer intentionally freezing the pipe may be plausible given that the mild winter could have unexpectedly thawed the ice in the pipe.
Regardless, given the lack of evidence to suggest the city is responsible for the damage, the Common Council voted last week to deny the claim.
"When we determine we aren't at fault and aren't negligent, we don't pay," Scott explained.
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