On June 20, Mary Coakley-Munk and Friends of La Jolla Shores filed a lawsuit against contractors T.B Penick and Sons, and Lithocrete supplier Shaw and Sons, for damages resulting from the deteriorating Map at Kellogg Park. The plaintiffs say the educational art installation depicting the ocean canyons off La Jolla Shores, and located at the corner of Camino Del Oro and Vallecitos, began crumbling in 2012.
Friends of La Jolla Shores allege T.B. Penick, the group hired to construct The Map, made claims about its durability and longevity, but The Map has come apart on two separate occasions during the past five years and T.B. Penick has refused to repair it.
T.B. Penick, however, said the lawsuit comes as a surprise. T.B. Penick Vice President Dave Golia, said the first course of action will be to “figure out what the specific, latest contentions are so we know what we’re responding to. At this point, our intention is to resolve the matter in a reasonable and amicable way.”
The purpose of The Map was laid out at the June 20 press conference by Friends of La Jolla Shores member Catherine Douglass.
“The Map was designed to create a beautiful, educational and scientifically accurate illustration of the topography of the deep water canyons, the location of the marine reserves, dive sites and points of interest, and to showcase the indigenous species,” Douglass told the assemblage.
The Map has areas of increasingly deeper shades of crushed blue glass covered in a laminating product called Lithocrete to show depth, and over 300 two-dimensional, bronze, life-sized replicas of the native species.
The suit states that T.B. Penick said Lithocrete would be “ideal” and “perfect” to cover the surface of The Map because it would permanently hold the fragments of glass in place without delaminating or breaking. The suit also claims T.B. Penick promised “A Lithocrete sealer would ‘permanently ensure the structural integrity’ of the surface, which would then require ‘minimum maintenance’ with ‘almost no maintenance costs.’ ”
Douglass said of these claims, “We are sad and we are mad. We should not be looking at a pockmarked, crumbling surface littered with loose glass. The Map is not safe; it is not attractive, durable, stable or low-mainte- nance,” as she said was also promised by T.B. Penick.
Friends of La Jolla Shores member Bill Lerach told
La Jolla Light
that after The Map’s official opening in September 2008, it started to crumble and the area had to be closed off by the city in late 2009. T.B. Penick repaired The Map in April 2010, but it started deteriorating a second time. In fall of 2012, the city closed the area, calling it a “safety hazard.”
“The lawsuit seeks damages to compensate the people for the money that was lost in the project — which is well over half-a- million dollars — the cost of replacement, which could also be a half-a-million dollars, and punitive damages as well, because other Penick projects have failed and they concealed that from the people who raised money for this project,” Lerach said.