Liens, Looming Audit Put Texarkana Business Park Under More Scrutiny

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 12:00 am  

The liens were filed by EBCO General Contractors Ltd. of Cameron, Texas, and seven of its subcontractors on the convention center project. (See chart in slideshow above.)

On Dec. 9, EBCO took its claims of nonpayment a step further by filing a civil suit against Patel in Miller County Circuit Court.

According to the suit, Patel was required to pay the balance of the $9.7 million contract cost within 20 days of the project being completed, and that hadn’t happened for the work outlined in the liens.

On Jan. 9, Patel’s lawyer, J. Don Overton, filed a motion to dismiss the suit.

The response argues that the contract for the jobs expressly calls for the parties to settle disputes out of court, so the court “lacks jurisdiction until such mediation has completed.”

But more important, the response alleges that EBCO breached the project’s contract.

It says that EBCO didn’t complete some of the work — in particular, it ordered its subcontractors to stop work — outlined in the contract, abandoning it and leaving Patel’s company to complete it.

“Some have continued to perform warranty repairs in an attempt to extort money from the owner for uncompleted work,” the response says. “Subsequently the plaintiff instructed subcontractors to file fraudulent liens against the property … in spite of the plaintiff having been paid by the owner for the work.”

It also argues that some of EBCO’s work was falsified, that it hasn’t provided supporting documentation to justify its claims of unpaid work, and that it didn’t issue two-party checks to subcontractors despite repeated requests to do so.

In the weeks since the lawsuit was filed, two more liens have appeared. On Dec. 30, Xtreme Steam Carpet Cleaning of Texarkana, Texas, claimed that $53,686 of work on the convention center remained unpaid. On Dec. 19, Ernest Spencer Metals Inc. of Meriden, Kan., claimed a $17,682 bill from work on the water park, the first lien on that project.

City officials have remained fairly distant from these proceedings.

“There’s only been one side of it heard on the lawsuit,” Mayor Smith said. “I would hold my answer to see how that lawsuit comes out. I want to give everyone a fair opportunity. I don’t want to characterize someone based on allegations.”



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