An executive for La Quinta Inn & Suites received an urgent warning that the exterior of one of its Bloomington locations was at risk of falling off, and that’s exactly what happened a few days later.
A Twin Cities attorney representing Texas-based La Quinta Inn & Suites said Wednesday that he has information “that fits” with an e-mail that reportedly was sent by a contractor to the chain’s director of construction raising concerns about the exterior, a portion of which peeled away early Monday and fell through the lobby ceiling.
“We see this as an urgent issue that needs to be addressed ASAP!” KARE-TV, Ch. 11, quoted the contractor’s e-mail as saying. It was sent Friday.
“I personally am shocked that those two panels are still on the wall and wouldn’t be surprised after the next wind storm that we hear about it on the news,” the e-mail said, according to the TV report Tuesday night.
Mark Solheim, an attorney for La Quinta on this case, said Wednesday morning, “that [report] fits with what I have. … Once we got that [information], we dispatched the on-site contractor” at the 18-story hotel, located just south of Interstate 494 and east of Hwy. 100, where four concrete-like facade panels fell from floors 14 through 17 at 1:50 a.m. The panels broke water pipes and damaged heating and ventilation systems.
Solheim declined to address specifics in the e-mail, instead releasing a statement acknowledging that La Quinta “recently … became aware of cracking … and promptly” hired a structural engineer for an inspection. The engineer recommended repairing the facade, and a general contractor visited the hotel Friday, the statement continued.
The contractor sought a follow-up meeting Monday with the engineering firm. “Unfortunately, portions of the facade fell Monday morning before the repairs could be made,” the statement read.
Solheim’s comments and the statement he released Wednesday are La Quinta’s first response to Monday’s mishap. Company spokeswoman Teresa Ferguson has not been available since the incident, and La Quinta’s director of construction, Murry Cathlina, was not responding to messages Wednesday.