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Hotel subcontractors seek answers

Officials haven't paid firms that worked on Radisson

May 22, 2012

Menomonee Falls - Subcontractors who worked on the Radisson Hotel in Menomonee Falls sought answers from the Village Board on Monday night about funds they say have yet to be paid to them for their work on the project.

This is the second board meeting in a row subcontractors spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting asking for answers and payment.

"We completed our work and we had no reason to suspect there was a problem," said General Manager Barry Bloom of Assured Power, a company that did the electrical work on the Radisson, in an interview following the public comment portion of the meeting. "We're hoping we can raise some awareness and get them to the table to tell us what it is we need to do."

Bloom said the retainage funds for the project that the subcontractors are seeking is approximately $600,000. The project architect Bob Sieger, John Haubner from Horner Plumbing Company, Mark Mouradian from Edward Don & Company that works in kitchen design, Nick Meyer from Nick Meyer Construction and Susie Beard from Badger Lighting and Signs all pleaded for answers from the Village Board as to what steps they should take in order to be paid.

Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald and the village attorney said they could not comment on the issue because they are in the middle of litigation. They would not say who the other party is in the litigation.

Bloom said he and the fellow subcontractors for the hotel were told by village representatives about six weeks ago that they could not discuss payment of retained funds because of "pending litigation." The subcontractors are also unsure of the litigation details and said they have nowhere to turn in their quest for answers.

"We understand that there may be pending litigation between the village and the ownership group, but what that has to do with the retainage (fund) that has been put aside, we don't know," Bloom said. "Our assumption was the village was to pay us and about six weeks ago we were informed by the attorney for the ownership and the village that they were no longer speaking with us."

The Village of Menomonee Falls lent $17.65 million to Lodging Investors of Menomonee Falls, the project developer, for the Radisson Hotel that opened in June 2011. Gil-Her out of Sun Prairie was the general contractor for the project and has since gone out of business. Bloom said they were told a separate general contractor was hired to look over their paperwork in order to approve payment.

"It's an embarrassment these folks have not been paid," Sieger said. "Someone needs to find out who releases money to the subcontractors who did the work."

Beard said her company is owed $47,000.

Mouradian said his company is owed a little more than $81,000. He said his company was told by the village that they needed to have paperwork completed by the ownership group saying the work was done satisfactorily.

"My papers have been complete several times and still no payments are coming," he said. "We're just looking for some kind of conversation as to how to proceed."

Bloom said they have heard nothing but silence from the village.

"They keep relegating us to the one portion of the meeting that is not in the minutes and does not get broadcast," he said.

A November 2011 NOW article stated that Menomonee Falls officials filed a motion in Waukesha County Circuit Court seeking the appointment of a receiver for the Menomonee Falls Radisson Hotel, which was granted. The motion essentially asked for an outside party to collect revenue and monitor the operations of the hotel. At the time, Dean Grosskopf, the head of Lodging Investors of Menomonee Falls - the developer of the project - faced accusations he diverted funds from another project in order to pay for the Radisson development.

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