From the Times Ledger:
After 16 years in the construction business, Patrick Dempsey is at the end of his rope.
The Maspeth-based electrical subcontractor is on the brink of bankruptcy, the electrical workers’ union has convinced most of his 25 employees to quit over unpaid retirement benefits and he blames his woes on his biggest potential income source: the city School Construction Authority.
He is one of dozens of companies waiting — and struggling — as the agency works to resolve hundreds of millions of dollars of SCA contract changes for work already completed.
“My company’s dead, I’m done,” Dempsey said, noting his Bayside apartment is in jeopardy of foreclosure. “My name is shot with the SCA now because I’ve had to go to the politicians. My guys are gone.”
Any time a school construction contract is significantly altered, contractors and subcontractors are required to submit a “change order” requesting additional payment if the project expands or reducing the charges if the job gets smaller. For example, if asbestos were found during the work, the contractor’s job would become bigger.
Of 3,545 open change order applications listed in a March 5 report on the SCA’s Web site, only 173 appeared to have been resolved. At least one open case dates back to 2005.
Rockville Centre-based attorney Henry Goldberg, who specializes in contractor cases, has estimated there are between $600 million and $800 million in change orders waiting to be finalized and paid to contractors and subcontractors.
Dempsey said the SCA owes him a total of $720,457, some of it for jobs he completed nearly a year ago. The agency finally signed off on two change orders from June 2009 last month, he said.