Washington Regional Airport

The contractor for a Washington Municipal Airport apron project filed a lawsuit against the city alleging breach of contract.

Raineri Construction, LLC, filed suit Tuesday in Warren County Circuit Court. The company is seeking damages in the amount of $464,865.81. In addition, Raineri is seeking interest and legal fees.

The company was the general contractor for a project at the airport to install a new concrete apron at the fueling station. The project to replace the asphalt with concrete in front of the two airplane fueling stations was awarded in September 2017.

The suit stems from payment for the project that was delayed several months. 

“I think this suit is without merit,” said City Attorney Mark Piontek. “We fully intend to defend against the suit and we expect a favorable outcome.”

Work began in the spring of 2018. Raineri was the low bidder for the work at the cost of $268,794.55. Raineri was required to have completed the work within 35 days of the start time.

The project was funded through a state block grant through the airport improvement program administrated by the Missouri Department of Transportation. The grant was for up to $303,157, with a local match of $42,650.

The grant also included funds to restripe the tarmac, however, initial bids for that portion of the project came in much higher than expected, John Nilges, Washington’s director of public services, previously stated.

Allegations

The suit alleges that Raineri representatives had stated during a meeting with city staff and Crawford, Murphy & Tilley, Inc., the project engineer contracted with the city, that the company would use a “laser screed” to place concrete on the terminal opening.

The company contends they were later told that the concrete must be applied with different equipment, specifically a “slip form paver.”

The suit alleges the company experienced delays due to the equipment requirement.

On June 25, 2018, Nilges reported to the city council that the project was two months behind schedule. He noted that much of the delays were due to the fill rock required in the bid specifications that is not available at a local quarry. Nilges said the contractor trucked in rock from St. Joseph. The fill rock specs are based on federal requirements.

In the suit, Raineri alleges the city required more specific rock fill than required in the contract to fill “soft spots.”

Nilges told the city council the project was nearly two months behind schedule. At that time, he explained that the contractor could be charged $750 per day they are behind schedule.

The late fees would be put into a city of Washington bank account that could be used for future “entitlement” projects, Nilges said.

He added that the city will seek to recoup funds for the loss of fuel sales due to the delayed work restricting access to fuel pumps.

The civil case is assigned to Warren County Circuit Judge Jason Lamb. He is not related to Washington City Administrator Darren Lamb, city officials said.