City and Rio Nuevo board clash over unpaid invoices

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- It's a beautiful entrance that marks the way into the Tucson Convention Center.  The work was done for nearly two years ago, but over 20 businesses have yet to be paid.

Councilman Steve Kozachik says so far he's gathered over 11 invoices that total over $320,000.

"That may be chump change to Turner and Sundt, but it's a ton of cash to people trying to pay their bills," said Kozachik.

One of those contractors still waiting for payday is Triple A Landscape on Tucson's northwest side.

Triple A president Richard Underwood isn't happy. He says he's owed $6,337 for work dating back to Dec. 9 2009.

"It's not a great amount of money in the scheme of things, of course every nickel is important these days," said Underwood.

Councilman Kozachik drafted a letter and asked mayor and council to sign it Tuesday. It's on its way to the Rio Nuevo board.  It urges them to settle their external disputes and pay these debts.

"Get over it get the people paid," said Kozachik.

"We're trying.  We understand people want to get paid," said Rio Nuevo Chair Jodi Bain.

But Bain says its not that simple.  The district wants to pay, but their accountants have to make sure the figures are accurate.

"If it is demonstrated the district owes money, the district will pay money that is not a question.  The question is how much is owed, by whom and for what," said Bain.

Despite Kozachik's letter, there's still no timetable as to when the invoices will be paid.  In the meantime businesses have to sit and wait until Rio Nuevo signs their checks.

The Rio Nuevo board meets again on June 23.