| The work site and expense accounts|
The designated architect lives in Porto-Vecchio.
A day's work is at least 10 hours, six days on seven. Carbini is situated at least 15 km. from Sainte-Lucie and thus the contractor moves to Carbini. He returns home on Sundays to be with his wife and six children. The youngest child is only three months old.
The scaffoldings are mounted. The roofing, carpentry, and the cornices of the church are demolished or deposited; the bell-tower is torn down to two meters from the floor and the bases of the walls are consolidated. The reconstruction project evolves.
The first two payments on account are deposited in a reasonable delay, considering the sequence of work:
1st account July 24, 1903 F : 2 436,20.-
2nd account August 24, 1903 F : 2 734,40.-
No account in September. The contractor cannot pay ordered material. The laborers are not paid. They complain but are patient.
On October 5, the architect Prospéri makes an official claim, but apparently his documents do not convince the Ministry.
On October 15, still no reply; this time the workers go on strike. The Mayor of Carbini sends a telegram to the Minister:
“BUILDING SITE CARBINI ON STRIKE PLEASE DETERMINE IF PAYMENT ACCORDING
"TO ARCHITECT REQUEST OF THE 5th OF THIS MONTH HAS BEEN TREATED
“URGENCY MAYOR CARBINI CORSICA”
The site is blocked for more than a month
On November 10, a telegram from the Minister announces a remittance of 8000 francs, but only 6234,20 francs are transmitted by the local controller at Lévie on November 21, 1903.
The contractor has now received a total of F: 11 404, 80.
The distance, the sea, and insularity encumber communication between Corsica and the mainland which had never been easy. The problem is amplified by differences in mentality and history; and also by the image of Corsica. Telegrams and dispatches may accelerate material communication, but may also cause irritation and incomprehension. The distance will be doubled or quadrupled when Albert Ballu is on post in Algeria, and the time passed between the first estimates and the last payments contribute to the confusion. Thus the Director of Fine Arts has some difficulty in following the matter. He even confounds the sums sent to the contractor Bartoli with sums designated to other posts; which increases the delay of payment.
Prosperi will have much difficulty in resolving the problem. In the end of November 1903, the Director is persuaded that Bartoli “has already received […] more than 20 000 francs” when in fact he has only received 11 404, 80.
As architect, Prospéri has received the sums previewed on the estimate corresponding to 5% of the total account, that are not included in the estimate.
Prospéri – that is his role – sends the papers to the Ministry's accounting service (Rue de Valois) justifying his expenses in conformity with the estimate mentioning the usual rectifications such as the unpredictable rise of prices. Each unforeseen expense has a code and is included in the estimate, in proportion to the total. The accounts are verified by the controllers based on the elements on file. At this point in the procedure, it is necessary to explain in accountant's language the contribution of the village of Carbini which is of three kinds : material, volunteer work days, and species.
The funds collected now belong to the perception office in Lévie.
Certain aspects of the situation must be reexamined.
Seen on this angle, the contractor of Tallano, may have been duped by the contract. Did he willingly accept the situation? Did he receive a compensation? The strikes, the delays in payment and its consequences (time loss, misunderstandings, debts…) made it a bad deal.
- the days worked without pay by the residents of Carbini were furnished to the contractor Dominique Bartoli. as well as the material belonging to the village; together they had been included in the global estimate of 1902.
- in this estimation, each category of material has its nomenclature in the series of prices, but the material furnished by the village of Carbini, consists brute material, leading to more confusion. Example: for the church, the wood furnished by Carbini for the scaffoldings is counted in cubic meters while the scaffoldings, once mounted are evaluated in linear meters; another example: on the agreement, 6500 round tiles for roofing are to be furnished by Carbini, and on the official estimate are only mentioned ‘roofing material – hollow tiles' making the real contribution of Carbini impossible to calculate.
- the contractor who establishes the estimate in accordance with the series of prices must make a reasonable margin between the estimate and real cost. In the case of a donation of material, the contractor receives no benefit and must pay skilled labor because the volunteers of Carbini don't have the necessary skills. On paper their wages are counted at only 3,00 francs a day. The contractor does not pay them, but they have nevertheless worked under his responsibility, and it is normal that in the role of the contractor he should be remunerated. Prosperi's fees are calculated on a stable 5% rate in function of the total estimate which includes free material and free labor.
The work is finished since December 20 1903, but Prospéri , the mandated architect, does not have the papers enabling him to make an official declaration and close the counts. He seems to be lost in an imbroglio. He doesn't see the need to furnish so much paper work, but the Ministry does not agree.
- another unusual circumstance : apparently the stones of the ruins of San Quilico were used for another purpose, the rehabilitation of the Presbytery which is not considered as a national monument. Did Prosperi willingly hide the cost of the rehabilitation of the Presbytery in his estimate? Were there enough stones to go around?
It will take more than a year and a half before Dominique Bartoli receives his full pay.
Legal claims and complaints
On March 25 1904, pressed by the contractor, and to save time, Prospéri announces that the documents are now in the hands of Albert Ballu, head architect, but all he has sent is a letter dated on February 20 containing the sums paid by the controller in the town of Lévie which arrives on the office desk of Ballu on May 17.
Obliged to pay the skilled labor and the suppliers, Bartoli repeats his claims. Realizing that Prospéri is inefficient, on April 12, Bartoli sends his own reclamation directly to the Minister with a recommendation by Thadei Gabrielli Deputy of Sartène.
On April 23, the Minister, weary of this affair “engaged and conducted in abnormal conditions”, gives his accord for a payment of 3 735 francs, but the administration does not follow his decision.
On Mai 15, Albert Ballu tries to clear himself in a letter to the Minister : “...having just returned from Algeria, I was unable to visit the site in Carbini for verification of the accounts... ”. One year later, the Minister proposes to the Director of Fine Arts to inflict a blame on Prospéri by intermediary of the PrefectIn desperation, on July 8 1904, the contractor pleads the General Secretary of the Prefecture of Ajjaccio to intervene on his behalf. The Prefecture sends a telegram to the Minister of Education and Fine Arts : forty days later, on August 26, the fourth account of F: 3176, 20 arrives, but Bartoli has still not received his due.
On September 10, believing he has found a way out of this ‘wasps nest', Prospéri sends a modified version of the voucher to the Minister. Deducting 1% of the original total based on the series of prices, he presents an estimate of 26 271,58 francs specifying that 9063,36 francs are on the charge of the village of Carbini.
According to this mathematical calculation which is correct but doesn't take into consideration the material furnished graciously by Carbini, the Ministry now owes a total of 17 208, 22 francs to the contractor Bartoli who accepts this compromise on September 11 1904.
Having already received four installments, the Ministry still owes 2 627, 16 francs (a tenth of the global estimate) to Bartoli, which shows another example of the incoherence of the system. This sum does not appear on the invoice, but the ‘tenth' is mentioned in one of the contractor's claims. This ‘tenth' could have been a compensation for his work as a contractor (cf. supra) but in fact it represents a conservatory measure in the case of defects appearing afterwards.
The ‘tenth' in question will be paid almost a year later in spite of the expiration date of the guarantee. The discrepancy resides in the way the ‘tenth' rule is applied. The contractor is remunerated for his share of work without taking into consideration the responsibilities he'd assumed as a contractor when working with the volunteer laborers. Double punishment!
Six months have passed when on March 30 1905, the work is finally considered as finished and the entire project accepted, but the official date signed by the controller on the visa is June 22, 1905. It is not difficult to imagine that the remaining 2 627,16 francs were sent to Bartoli even later. A letter written by Prospéri to the minister dating from March 10 1905, announces receipt on 30 March 1905!
No stamp or registered seal has been found to enlighten us on this point. Bah! At this point, does it really matter?
On April 12 1905, the undersecretary of State, and director of Fine Arts refuses the proposition made by Ballu to inflict a blame on Prospéri, but agrees that an inquiry is necessary on the accounts of the Carbini restoration project. A certain Carrayol, who does not work directly with the Historical Monuments is assigned to the affair. But already on July 22 1904, “it was obvious that it would be impossible to establish the accounts in the habitual way, because the material furnished graciously by Carbini makes the drafting of a serious account fanciful”.
The contractor of Sainte-Lucie comes out of this adventure with debts and a sentiment of bitterness in spite of the satisfaction of a job well done. Bartoli tells himself that he is not made for business affairs, and realizes that he will never know how to protect himself from this kind of deception.
In the absence of monetary benefits, he drew a philosophy from it:
“Si ghjeiu mi mittia has venda i barretti tandu l'omini nasciariani senza capu”