Home Construction Yonkers company sues Brooklyn contractor for $1.1M for missing drill rig

Yonkers company sues Brooklyn contractor for $1.1M for missing drill rig

A Yonkers company is demanding $1.1 million from a Brooklyn contractor who rented a drill rig for a month but allegedly kept it for 34 months, and counting.

Top Grade Excavating New York Inc. sued ABC Select NY Inc., and James LaBate, the CEO, for unjust enrichment, May 25 in Westchester Supreme Court.

“At the present time,” the complaint states, “Top Grade has no information whatsoever regarding the location or whereabouts of the drill rig.”

drill rig yonkers
Image courtesy Casagrande

Top Grade bought the Casagrande crawler drill for $268,000 in 2016. In May 2017, according to the complaint, ABC Select NY paid $25,000 for a one-month rental, plus $1,000 for delivery to a construction site in New York City.

Ten days later, LaBate allegedly notified Top Grade that the rig was not operating properly and demanded a $26,000 refund and removal of the machine.

Top Grade, which is run by Ronan Fagan, according to a state corporation record, replied that it would bring the rig back to its Yonkers yard, inspect it, “and then address the issue of a potential refund, in whole or part … depending on the results and findings from the inspection.”

LaBate refused to allow Top Grade to retrieve the rig, the complaint states, and ABC Select moved the machine from the construction site to its yard on Nevins Street in Brooklyn, and then moved it again sometime last year to an undisclosed location.

Top Grade accuses ABC Select of conversion, breach of lease and unjust enrichment. It is demanding $1,118,000, based on the value of the machine and the rental value for 34 months, or alternatively, return of the machine.

LaBate did not immediately respond to a voicemail message asking for his side of the story.

Top Grade is represented by Garden City attorney Joseph P. Dineen.


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