A construction company has sued Harrison Central School District for more than $800,000, claiming it was fired for project delays caused by the district itself.
East Coast USA Construction also alleges that it was replaced by a company that has a close personal relationship with the school district or the project construction manager.
“The district intentionally terminated East Coast USA Construction to cover up its own failures,” according to the lawsuit filed July 3 in Westchester Supreme Court, “using East Coast as a scapegoat.”
Louis N. Wool, the district’s superintendent, did not respond to an email request for comment.
East Coast USA Construction is based in Queens and run by Jaspreet Singh, according to a state Division of Corporations record.
Last year, East Coast USA Construction was awarded a $1 million contract to renovate the auditorium at Louis M. Klein Middle School. Eight months later, the district fired the company, declaring it was in default on the contract.
The district claimed that “East Coast failed to progress its work in a timely manner to assure its completion within the contract time,” the complaint states.
But East Coast claims that the district itself and construction manager Arris Contracting Co. of Poughkeepsie caused the delays. The project was shut down because of asbestos exposure, for instance, the ceiling was redesigned, and the district was allegedly slow to process payments.
The performance bond insurer, Aegis Security Insurance Co., demanded $600,000 collateral from East Coast USA Construction to cover the costs of the termination, the complaint states, and it paid the district $454,000.
Harrison replaced East Coast with Key Construction Inc., who’s $980,000 bid, according to the complaint, was $95,000 higher than the low bid by JDDC Construction.
East Coast accuses the district of hiring Key Construction “based upon a personal relationship” with the district or Arris or others acting on their behalf.
The complaint does not identify a specific personal relationship, and neither Arris nor Key are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
East Coast is demanding $831,471, for money owed when it was fired, lost profits and the collateral demanded by its insurance company.
The contractor is represented by George Sitaras and Gerasimos D. Liberatos, of Marco & Sitaras PLLC of Manhattan.