UTICA, N.Y. -- Construction work has stopped at downtown Utica's Nexus Center, but legal work has begun.
The contractor, Hueber-Breuer, has filed a lawsuit, seeking to roughly $10 million from Oneida County and the Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority, for work done on the unfinished sports complex.
Oneida County Executive, Anthony Picente, acknowledges it's an unfortunate situation for all involved -- but not really anyone's fault.
"The pandemic came and put many projects in jeopardy especially ones that were not completely financed," says Picente. "The flip side is the contractor wants to get paid. I understand that, but we're in that area of uncertainty because of what this pandemic did to the economy."
Work stopped on the project in May, because the county could no longer front the money for the project, due to severe financial impacts from the coronavirus.
The contractor, in their legal paperwork, says that the county represented to the auditorium authority that a $49 million fund was established to pay for the project, and that this was intended to induce the contractor into completing work on the project -- but that the representation wasn't true, at the time.
County Executive Picente says there's plenty of pain to go around, as a result of the unfinished project.
"We'll try and figure out when that project can resume and at what point the finances will be stable. I mean, we're out $11 million on that. That's anohter impact to the county budget that will impact us going forward, because we've been fronting the money, working with the aud to do that and that puts a hardship on us as, well, so, we're all suffering from this and I realize that Hueber Breuer is an independent business and it's different, but it's really no one's fault in particular but we'll have to deal with it."
The lawsuit was filed with the Oneida County Clerk's office Sept. 21.