The owner of a colossal mansion in Christian County, Mo., has settled a $63 million lawsuit against the concrete supplier, calling off a federal trial that was slated for Monday.
One of the largest homes in America, the castle-style Chateau Pensmore in southwest Missouri was designed to survive earthquakes, tornadoes, even a bomb blast. Owner Steven T. Huff told The Star in 2015 that the house should stand for 2,000 years. Then he filed suit after claiming he had been cheated on the concrete.
A settlement was reached July 21 that avoided a jury trial scheduled in Springfield, said Paige Wymore-Wynn, U.S. court executive of the Western District of Missouri. The order resolving the lawsuit was posted online Friday by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
According to the Huff family suit against Kansas-based Monarch Cement Co. and a subsidiary, City Wide Construction Products, a whistleblower revealed to Pensmore representatives that the contractors had skimped on a concrete component called helix. Core testing of the finished product confirmed the whistleblower’s claims, the suit said.
Helix — fine, twisted strands of high-tensile wire — makes concrete less vulnerable to wind and explosions. Walls reinforced with helix bend rather than break, then flex back into place.
Huff, an astrophysicist, claimed in his suit that rather than mix a full measure of the component into cement, “defendants put enormous quantities of helix, paid for by plaintiff, on their trucks and drove them to storage” to be sold for other projects.
The concrete companies denied the allegations.
Attorneys for Huff and the defendant contractors did not return The Star’s phone calls Monday.
Seven years under construction, the all-concrete Pensmore spreads more than 72,000 square feet and reaches five stories toward the skies above the Ozark hills. It was completed in 2016 with turrets, 14 baths, 13 bedrooms and exterior walls 12 inches thick.