Strongsville hires law firm to help settle final cost of locker room project in rec center

December 4, 2018

Strongsville hires law firm to help settle final cost of locker room project in rec center

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – The city has hired a Cleveland attorney and his law firm to help settle the final cost of a locker-room renovation at the Walter F. Ehrnfelt Recreation & Senior Center.

David Cuppage will charge the city $300 an hour for his services, according to an agreement recently approved by City Council. Other attorneys at Cuppage’s firm – McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co. LPA in Cleveland – would charge less if they perform work for the city, but the agreement doesn’t say how much.

Strongsville Law Director Neal Jamison said the agreement doesn’t cap the amount the city would pay Cuppage and the law firm because it’s uncertain how much the city will need them. He said Cuppage and McCarthy Lebit would represent the city if the dispute over the final locker-room bill ends up in court or arbitration.

Meanwhile, Strongsville Building Commissioner Tony Biondillo told cleveland.com that the locker-room renovation project was finally completed Thanksgiving weekend.

The dispute over the project cost is with Alabasi Construction Inc., a Cleveland firm the city hired in March 2016 for $662,750. Alabasi never completed the locker-room project, saying it had difficulty obtaining a certain type of tile from Mexico.

The city subsequently fired Alabasi and hired Colabianchi Construction Inc. in Strongsville to finish two of the locker rooms. Colabianchi charged the city $47,885, according to Jamison.

Then, earlier this year, the city hired RFC Contracting Inc. in Strongsville to renovate the remaining four locker rooms, paying the firm $470,000.

That’s a total of $1.2 million. However, the city so far has paid Alabasi only $184,802 for its work and has no intention of making additional payments, Jamison said in June. That’s why the matter may end up in arbitration or court.

Jamison said Cuppage and McCarthy Lebit have expertise when it comes to disputes like those with Alabasi. According to McCarthy Lebit’s website, the firm’s practice areas include alternative dispute resolution, real estate and construction, financial compliance, litigation, and business and corporate. 

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