The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 7, 2012

Spire, contractors reach agreement

Partial payments to flow, work to resume soon

Staff Writer

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — A settlement between Spire Institute and the general contractor on the Aquatic Center has been reached, paving the way for the center to be completed and partial payments to flow to the contractors and subcontractors.

Stuart Cordell, attorney for Spire, announced the agreement on Wednesday. According to the press release, “Spire delivered a significant payment to Hughes Roller Building Co. for the benefit of the contractors working under them on the project.” No dollar amount was stated in the press release and “details ... remain confidential.”

Cordell said the source of the funding, which was not released, was local. As to the amount, he would not comment but said it was “enough to move the process forward.”

In exchange for the partial payment, contractors will return to the project site to finish or repair certain agreed-upon items and assist in developing a plan to complete the building. Cordell said contractors will be paid for their additional work as it is completed. Only the balance of the prior due amounts will be deferred to a later date, as much as two years from now.

Hughes Roller, on Dec. 19, 2011, filed a $8,567,953 mechanic’s lien against the Spire Institute property. The lien encompassed a number of subcontractors’ claims, some of which also filed their own liens. There were other mechanics liens filled by contractors who did not work under Hughes Roller on the Aquatic Center project.

More recently, Ron and Tracy Clutter, who own the 170 acres on which Spire was built and granted a 99-year ground lease for that land to Spire, filed an open-ended mortgage in the amount of $55 million against the property in April. The mortgage was to secure loans that the Clutters had made to Spire in its early years of development.

The news release states that Hughes Roller provided partial releases of the liens they filed against the project.

“We didn’t object to the contractors filing liens on the project,” said Ron Clutter, founder and CEO of Spire. “It was necessary and appropriate for them to protect their position, and we supported that while we jointly developed a plan for finishing the work.”

“The Aquatic Center is a complex building and has posed a real challenge for all of us,” said Joe Roller, president of Hughes Roller Building Co. “Nevertheless, every contractor who worked on the Spire complex is proud of their work and proud to be involved in such a spectacular and unique project. We all wanted to find a way to complete the Aquatic Center phase of the complex, and we are now moving forward. We appreciate Spire’s efforts, and we’re glad to be going back to work.”

Clutter said in the press release that Spire has made similar payments to and agreements with other contractors who were not working under Hughes Roller but nevertheless furnished labor or material to the project. He said payment has already been delivered to Hughes Roller, which has the responsibility of paying the subcontractors their share.

Dave Nolan, president of Nolan Overhead Door in Austinburg Township, said he’s heard rumors of money forthcoming, but said “I haven’t seen anything yet.”

“We’ve been notified that we’re supposed to see it very soon. There are rumors all over the place,” Nolan said.

His information is that they will see only a partial payment at first. Nolan expected payment in full in September 2011. Nolan’s mechanics liens total $251,174 and are part of the Hughes Roller lien as well as separate filings. As to whether or not Nolan is interested in continuing to work on the project, he said “when we get our check, we’ll discuss what’s on the table.”

Daniel Frederick Jr., whose family-owned D&R Carpet is owed $408,177, said an attorney is representing them and he had not heard any news about a partial payment. D&R is not part of the Hughes Roller lien. Cordell said he delivered the check to D&R’s attorney last week.

“That sure would be nice,” Frederick said of the news.

The press release from Spire stated that a meeting will be held on site this week to begin the process of “re-mobilizing the trades at the job site and developing the plans to finish the Aquatic Center building.” Clutter stated that Spire has continued to grow throughout the process and developed additional programs, events, relationships and plans for the complex.

“Our summer sports camp programs are launching later this month. The training academy for high school and post-graduate students is opening in the fall of 2012, and SPIRE has been enrolling students for several months,” Clutter said.


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