East Coast USA Construction, which since April 2017 had been renovating the Morgan Park Bathhouse, is gearing up for a lawsuit against the City of Glen Cove. The city halted the construction company’s work authorization earlier this month after it discovered that East Coast was working without a signed contract.
The company’s president, Jesse Singh, has discussed the matter with attorneys Jason Samuels and Sean Kelley, both of whom specialize in construction law. Singh shared with the Herald Gazette an email chain among himself, Samuels and Kelley in which Singh wrote that he wanted to “move ahead as quickly as possible” on potential litigation.
At the Aug. 1 City Council meeting at which East Coast’s termination was announced, and afterward, in emails to the Herald Gazette, city officials claimed that the work that the contractor had completed — for which the city had already paid around $150,000 — was of poor quality, and that “the issue is not only with the quality of their work but with work performance.”
Singh called the accusations “BS,” and shared an email he sent to Samuels, saying that it was “unbelievable what [the city has] done to my company.”
According to Singh, Darcy Belyea, the city’s director of parks and recreation, was either “slow or non-responsive” to several requests the company made, including “change orders to complete the project” and a request to see the final, activated contract, which Singh said the company had signed. He found out that the contract hadn’t been signed by the city from a story in the Aug. 2-8 issue of the Herald Gazette.
“Darcy’s office simply did not have the construction background to run a construction project,” Singh said, “and [her] department should have never been given the oversight power on this.”
At the City Council meeting, Mayor Tim Tenke gave Lou Saulino, the director of the city’s Department of Public Works, the responsibility to complete the Morgan Park project. It will go out for another round of bidding, following an investigation of the current state of the facility in light of the work that East Coast Construction USA had completed.
Belyea has said that the project was one of the only times that her department was charged with overseeing building construction, and that in retrospect, she should have double-checked that the contract had been signed before authorizing the work, and that there is a “learning curve” to these things.
City Attorney Charles McQuair said at the meeting that his office was exploring potential legal recourse to cancel the payments the city has made to East Coast Construction. In response to Singh’s allegations, McQuair said in a statement that “The city does not comment on potential legal matters, especially ones that dispute the quality of work and work performance,” and added that “Our communications with vendors [are] both professional and efficient.”
In a separate email, sent in response to the Herald Gazette’s reporting on the Morgan Park project, McQuair said that the contract in question was included in East Coast’s bid for the work, and that when the City Council voted in April 2017 to approve the bid, the contract was activated.