Home Construction Developer demands $2M for defective plumbing at Chappaqua affordable housing project

Developer demands $2M for defective plumbing at Chappaqua affordable housing project

The developer of subsidized housing in Chappaqua is demanding nearly $2 million from a contractor who allegedly built defective water and sewer lines.

54 Hunts Place

Chappaqua Station LLC sued MVM Construction of Mount Vernon, and Aegis Security Insurance Co., a Harrisburg bonding company that guaranteed MVM’s job performance, July 14 in Westchester Supreme Court.

Chappaqua Station was “damaged by MVM’s deficient and defective performance,” the complaint states, and “Aegis is liable to Chappaqua for all of its damages incurred as a result of MVM’s failure to perform.”

54 Hunts Place is a 28-apartment building on a tight, one-third-acre site between the Metro-North railroad tracks and Saw Mill River Parkway in Chappaqua.

Westchester County bought the property in 2016 to fulfill part of its obligation under a 2009 federal decree to build affordable housing in predominately white communities.

The county made a deal with Conifer Realty, a Rochester affordable housing developer that owns Chappaqua Station LLC, to develop the apartment building. In 2018, the county awarded MVM a $1.3 million contract to build the water and sewer infrastructure.

MVM did not employ licensed master plumbers as required for sewer work under county regulations, according to the complaint. Then, to get a work permit, MVM belatedly hired MJS Plumbing & Heating Inc. of Cold Spring, Dutchess County, to act as its licensed plumber.

MVM did the plumbing work but backfilled the pipes, according to the complaint, concealing them before they could be inspected and tested.

The water lines failed pressure tests. MVM tried to fix leaks and re-test the sprinkler line and fire department connection in January 2019. But water was not drained from the lines, the complaint states, and the pipes froze, “raising questions of structural integrity.”

MJS Plumbing concluded that the work was so deficient that the infrastructure had to be replaced.

MJS began removing a water line in February 2019 and discovered that the storm water and sanitary sewer lines were also installed incorrectly, according to the complaint. MJS decided that it could no longer be involved in the project as licensed plumber of record “due to the extent of the deficiencies.”

Conifer claims that the water line, sprinkler line, fire department connection, and storm water and sanitary utilities were defective.

Steel pipes were used instead of cement-lined iron pipes, for example. Pipes were installed at improper angles. Liquid nails and adhesives were used improperly to connect pipes.

Conifer says it incurred delays; additional costs for labor, insurance and loans; and loss of rental income because of defective work by MVM.

It is demanding $1,923,585 from MVM and Aegis for alleged breaches of contract and breaches of bond.

Neither Frank Cara, a lawyer who has represented MVM, nor Aegis responded to emails requesting their sides of the story.

Conifer is represented by Rochester attorney John W. Dreste.

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