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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 28, 2008

Smoldering conflict
Contractor threatens suit

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — The contractor who did the million-dollar firehouse renovation for Voorheesville said yesterday he plans to sue the village.

“This is like a stick-up,” said Peter Marshall, owner of Dutch Valley General Contracting in Amsterdam. “This is bullshit. I’m very upset.”

The village is equally frustrated. Trustee John Stevens said of Marshall yesterday, “He ran over in the contract several hundred thousand dollars…We’re trying to close this out.”

Three years ago, the village made plans to upgrade the 40-year-old firehouse on Route 156 in a project Stevens, who was then the mayor, called “functional not fancy.” More space was needed for training, equipment, and community events — and the building was to be renovated to comply with current codes.

Last August, village officials complained that the project was to have been completed by Aug. 1 but contractors were still working. “The craftsmanship is not up to par,” Stevens said last August.

This Tuesday, Stevens reported to the village board of trustees the latest debacle with the firehouse renovation.

Dutch Valley “refused to accept 10-percent negative gain on the floor,” Stevens told the board.

Stevens told The Enterprise yesterday that epoxy was applied incorrectly to the floor. “Black ooze came through,” he said. “They re-did it, scraping it up with a machine…It’s just not uniform.”

The board had voted to withhold 10 percent of the $30,000 cost for the floor, Stevens said, and an amount was agreed upon with Marshall but he changed his mind.

“He said he wouldn’t accept the 10-percent reduction and I said, ‘We’re done,’” said Stevens.

He said there are other outstanding issues as well, such as engineering fees and fines for being late in finishing the project — at $500 a day.

“He didn’t meet his time obligation,” said Stevens of Marshall. “We needed to move our equipment back in and get the firehouse up and running. He delayed it by over a month.”

“We fulfilled our obligation,” said Stevens. “He has to pay the fines.”

Marshall, however, says he never agreed to forgo $3,000, which is 10-percent of the $30,000 floor job.

“They didn’t like the way we did the floor the first time,” he said. “So my contractor re-did the whole floor in May. It was a super job. They got their new floor. We wanted to make the customer happy.”

Marshall said that the delays were caused by so many change orders. “It was a lousy set of drawings,” he said, causing extra work for the engineer. “They’re trying to get his extra fees out of Dutch Valley.”

Marshall concluded, “They’ve kept my $100,000 for three months. How do they expect me to stay in business?  I’m sending this to my attorney. We did all this extra work for them. They have a super fire station and a quality job.”

“Obviously, we have a different view than Mr. Marshall,” Mayor Robert Conway told The Enterprise yesterday. He had not heard of Marshall’s plans to sue the village until The Enterprise called him.

“The documents were very clear,” Conway said of the contract with Dutch Valley. “Any of the fines that have been levied are in keeping with the document.”

Conway also said, “We met with Mr. Marshall several times to resolve outstanding issues. We thought we had come to an agreement.”

He concluded, “The village is always willing to talk to any contractor we’re dealing with to avoid legal action.”

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