Saratoga County

Contractor files suit against town of Charlton

The general contractor fired from the town hall construction project last year has filed a lawsui


The general contractor fired from the town hall construction project last year has filed a lawsuit against the town alleging it was improperly dismissed.

Schmidt & Schmidt of West Charlton, which previously filed a $1 million notice of claim over its firing, has now followed up with a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Albany County.

The suit names the town, building architect J. Paul Vosburgh of Albany, and AKW Consulting of Schenectady, the town’s on-site representative.

The contractor seeks $1,130,793 in damages, alleging bidding documents were “erroneous and misleading,” issues weren’t resolved when Schmidt pointed them out, and the company’s termination last September was therefore “wrongful and in breach of contract.”

Town Supervisor Alan R. Grattidge said the town will fight the lawsuit, noting the building was started in September 2006 and was still open to the weather a year later.

“We had to default the contractor to get this project moving along,” Grattidge said.

The new town hall, with a construction budget of $3.2 million, is being built on Charlton Road next to Gideon Hawley Park.

After Schmidt & Schmidt was terminated, a new contractor was hired to enclose the building and put a roof on, protecting the interior from the elements.

At this point, Grattidge said, the mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors are working, but the town is still waiting for Schmidt & Schmidt’s bonding company to provide a replacement general contractor.

Schmidt & Schmidt was awarded a $2.5 million contract as the general contractor in June 2006. Town officials soon began complaining about the lack of progress, and the company was terminated by the Town Board in September 2007, after a Cornell University professor brought in as a mediator was unable to resolve disputes over the progress.

Schmidt & Schmidt had been paid $686,000 through the time it was terminated.

Schmidt & Schmidt, in court papers, said the specification documents it was given before it bid “failed to properly represent the nature and extent of work,” and during construction its work was “impeded, interfered with, delayed and modified” by representatives of the town.

Grattidge said the town has incurred additional expenses, including paying $15,000 to a mold specialist because of the delays in enclosing the building, and he can’t now say when the town hall will be finished.

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