Trial to begin in dispute over Centennial Court

Derek Lenehan

Kent State is to appear in the Ohio Court of Claims Monday, beginning the trial to settle the dispute between the university and Cleveland Construction Incorporated.

The ordeal began when the university named CCI the lead contractor for the Centennial Courts complex, on Mar. 26, 2002, awarding the firm a $17.45 million contract. Kent State then withheld payment after the job was complete, because of slow workmanship by CCI.

“The university had to contract with numerous other firms to complete the Centennial Courts for the fall 2003 opening,” said Jim Watson, associate university counsel.

CCI then filed several different suits, claiming $2.3 million in damages. In the initial complaint filed with the Court of Claims, CCI defended its work by citing several reasons for delays in the project, including:

ƒ-S Unusually severe weather

ƒ-S A labor strike by one of the other prime contractors

ƒ-S Defective plans and specifications

ƒ-S Kent State’s failure to coordinate contractors

ƒ-S Kent State’s failure to properly administer the job

CCI also spoke out against the Centennial architects, Braun and Steidl, in the initial complaint, describing the plans as “inadequate, incomplete, and often erroneous.” CCI also filed suit against Braun and Steidl.

Daniel Wireman, attorney for CCI, refused to comment on any specifics.

“With the trial date so close, there is nothing I can say about the case,” he said.

CCI is not new to the courtroom experience. The contractor has filed 250 or more lawsuits since 1980, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal.

The university is countersuing for the costs of hiring other firms to complete the project.

Contact academic affairs reporter Derek Lenehan at [email protected].