Mahoning County officials file suit claiming work is deficient


Case seeks damages from 2 companies

By JUSTIN WIER

jwier@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Mahoning County commissioners have filed a lawsuit which claims a local excavating company and a Cincinnati bonding company have failed to meet the terms of their contracts.

The lawsuit filed Monday in common pleas court claims X-Press Underground Inc. of Petersburg failed to complete its $418,075 contract to replace a pump station in New Middletown. A pump station contains pumps and equipment for moving sewage from a lower to a higher elevation to a treatment plant.

The commissioners voted to terminate their contract with X-Press in October.

County Engineer Pat Ginnetti said no work has occurred at the site since the county terminated its contract with X-Press in October.

In October, Ginnetti said X-Press received about 80 percent of its $418,075 contract.

David Sugar Jr., who owns X-Press, claims the county made it difficult for the company to do the work. He said the plant was six to eight days away from completion.

“We begged to go back out there and let us finish,” Sugar said. “The whole station is ready to go; it’s ready for startup.”

He said X-Press previously completed similar stations for the county in Campbell and Petersburg.

X-Press initially agreed to complete the New Middletown station in May 2017. The county granted two 30-day extensions, but the project was not completed.

X-Press unnecessarily delayed the work, refused or failed to supply enough workers and materials to the site and failed to make prompt payment to its subcontractors, according to the lawsuit.

Sugar said the county delayed the work by ordering workers off the site.

“It got to a point where everybody was telling us what to do, and we were trying to cooperate with them, and it was never enough,” Sugar said.

At an October meeting, X-Press said it took on significant losses on the project and it refused to replace defective concrete that did not meet specifications, the lawsuit said.

It also said X-Press representatives abruptly left the meeting.

Sugar said the county wanted him to replace a $20,000 concrete pad which only required resurfacing in one corner. He claims the bonding company and others in the concrete business have found no issues with the pad.

Ginnetti declined to comment while the matter remains under litigation.

The lawsuit also accuses West Bend Mutual Insurance Company of Cincinnati, which issued a bond on the project, of a failure to step in once the county terminated its contract with X-Press.

The terms of the county’s agreement with West Bend require it to assume liability in the event of X-Press’ default.

“West Bend has thus far refused to provide a replacement contractor to complete the project,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit seeks damages from both X-Press and West Bend.

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