- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2014

A federal judge has ordered the National Park Service to review a scrap dealer’s claims that the federal government shortchanged his company when buying land for the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania.

The Rollock Company agreed to move as part of a relocation deal with the National Park Service in 2009, but the company filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims three years later saying it was still owed nearly $250,000.

The company accused the Park Service of refusing to pay for the full costs of a monitor to oversee the removal of Rollock’s inventory and underground scrap metal from the site.

On Friday, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Charles F. Lettow put the case on hold, despite a move by the Park Service to have the lawsuit tossed on procedural grounds.

Instead, the judge ordered Park Service to review the company’s claims for six months.

NPS did not act on a number of Rollock’s claims, and, when it did, it left salient matters unresolved,” Judge Lettow wrote in the ruling.

Rollock was just one of several property owners who sold land to make way for the project, which remains under construction though open to visitors. The memorial pays homage to United Flight 93, which crashed after passengers fought hijackers to take control of the plane during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Jeff Reinbold, Park superintendent for the memorial, declined to comment on the dispute with Rollock on Monday, referring questions to the Justice Department, which represents the Park Service in the Court of Federal Claims. The Justice Department has argued the case should be dismissed because the Court of Federal Claims didn’t have jurisdiction.

The ruling comes days after another federal judge ruled in a separate dispute over the price of a 275-acre piece of property purchased for the Flight 93 site.

In that case, the previous owner, Michael Svonavec, argued the land the federal government condemned was worth more than $20 million. The government paid $611,000.

In her ruling last week, U.S. District Court Judge Donetta Ambrose, of the Western District of Pennsylvania, ruled the value was about $1.5 million.

That’s the same price estimated by a court-ordered commission appointed to appraise the property, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.