Sub-contractor claims construction group breached $5 million contract

Alejandro de los Rios Jan. 18, 2011, 1:10pm

A Chalmette construction firm claims that the company that hired it to work on a New Orleans high school has broken a $5 million contract, according to a suit filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

A&A Mechanical Inc. filed a lawsuit against Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Group (S&P) and project manager Chris Head claiming that Head demanded kickbacks after assigning a mechanical job to A&A.

New Orleans attorneys Minor Pipes III and Keith Magness filed the 12-page petition for damages on Jan. 6. The case has been assigned to Orleans Parish Chief Judge Lloyd Medley.

The lawsuit claims that A&A and S&P entered into a contract worth just over $5.3 million to help in constructing L.B. Landry High School in New Orleans, run by the state-operated Recovery School District. The contract stated that 5 percent, or $296,478.61, was to be paid when work was completed.

A&A claims that it "performed all work in a good and workmanlike manner" but that S&P has failed to pay the remainder of the contract. The plaintiffs also claim that S&P asked them to perform extra work at a cost in excess of $525,000, according to the suit.

The lawsuit claims that Head "approached the principles of A&A and demanded side payments of cash and other benefits from A&A as a kickback on this job" and that, if refused, Head "would make things 'difficult' for A&A."

The suit claims that A&A contacted George Pontikes, the "member/manager" of S&P, but that "neither he nor any other S&P official did anything."

The petition states that, after refusing to provide Head with kickbacks, he denied A&A's employees from entering the jobsite as well as "systematically refused A&A's applications for payment," among other charges.

The suit names seven causes of action against S&P, including violating the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices by soliciting kickbacks, contract breach and unjust enrichment.

Orleans Parish Case 2011-00129

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