HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Larry Benefield is the Director of Transportation and Maintenance for the Harrison County School District. In January of 2012, Benefield says he was looking to hire a contractor to do weekly maintenance on two wastewater stations at West Harrison High School and D'Iberville High School.
Benefield said, "Somebody to come through, check the pumps, make sure everything is running properly. There are filters that have to be cleaned weekly, to get bi-products out of it. So we require to have a company that we depend on to do those things, maybe once a week."
Benefield says he was contacted by a representative of S. H. Anthony and the two came to an agreement that the contractor would service the wastewater plants.
Benefield says the Harrison County School Board would pay S. H. Anthony $800 a month to service the two schools.
He said, "A big part of the job, these filters have to be cleaned every week. If it doesn't... it could become a very serious mechanical problem to the system."
After receiving the first bill from S. H. Anthony, Benefield says something didn't look right.
Benefield said, "After the first month I drove to the facilities and noticed that we had some problems, some things that weren't running properly. So we pulled the filters and obviously they were dirty so. My suspicion: we weren't getting the service that we thought we were."
Benefield says he decided to prove that S. H. Anthony wasn't doing the job.
"We decided to change the locks to our facilities, which we did, for a couple of months, and we continued to receive bills. But there was no way they could possibly be getting into our facilities to even do anything to them," Benefield stated.
Based on that determination, Benefield said the school district fired S. H. Anthony last April.
It should be noted Harrison County schools never paid the S. H. Anthony invoices.
Hugh Keating, Sean Anthony's attorney said, "S. H. Anthony never had an operations and maintenance contract with the Harrison County School District and that no money was paid because there was no contract." Keating added..."S. H. Anthony did send two invoices to the Harrison County School District in anticipation of them signing a contract."
Benefield said after he fired S. H. Anthony, "Sean Anthony called me, and I told him what we had done, what we had discovered. He was very apologetic about it and wanted to make good on it. At that point we can't afford for those kinds of mistakes here. We have to do, we have to stay on top our of facilities."
Benefield's allegation comes a week after Gulfport's mayor sat in front of the Harrison County Utility Authority and questioned whether S. H. Anthony billed his city more than $280,000 for substandard maintenance work on 16 lift stations.