Contractor sues Minskoff entities for $27M

May.May 01, 2009 05:59 PM
alternate textEdward Minskoff is the developer of 101 Warren Street

General Contractor HRH Construction sued the developer of the luxury, mixed-use tower 101 Warren Street in Tribeca for $26.9 million, after being fired from the project in January, court papers say.

The new construction development with 227 condominium units and 163 rentals was designed by global architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and is being developed by Edward J. Minskoff Equities, which has partial ownership in Office Towers 1166 Avenue of the Americas and 590 Madison Avenue.

The lawsuit does not name Edward J. Minskoff Equities, but instead cites development entities 270 Greenwich Street Associates, 89 Murray Street Associates and 101 Warren Street Associates, as well as several subcontractors who have filed liens on the buildings.

HRH, with offices in Midtown and White Plains, said in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan State Supreme Court April 24 that it was still owed $26.9 million for completing work on the 35-story project.

“HRH has performed all of its obligations under the contract. Despite due demand, the owners failed to pay HRH in full,” the complaint says.

HRH Construction is one of the major general contractors in the city, managing construction of projects such as the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Citigroup Center.

The lawsuit was not the start of the dispute. On January 27, 2009, HRH Construction was fired for “receiving monies from [the developer] and improperly failing to pay HRH’s subcontractors and vendors,” according to court papers filed in March by the developer.

Several weeks after being terminated, the general contractor filed a $26.9 million mechanic’s lien February 17 on a number of condos units at the property, and the lawsuit last month was an effort to foreclose on that lien, the HRH suit said.

William Fried, an attorney with Herrick Feinstein representing HRH Construction, said the development was virtually complete when the contractor was cut from the project, and it disputed the reasons given for the termination.

“HRH is very disappointed by the manner in which the Minskoff organization chose to terminate this business relationship after many years of professional service that was rendered to it,” Fried said in a statement from the contracting firm.

A representative for Minskoff did not provide comment.

James Lansill, senior managing director of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, the marketing and sales agent for the project, said closings have continued since the dispute began.

“The lien was fully bonded by [the developer]. It has no impact whatsoever on the condominium, existing owners or future owners.  The construction is complete, the project is over 90 percent closed, has no debt and the sponsor is very strong. All is well,” Lansill wrote in an e-mail.

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