Mount Vernon, NY — It appears the residents and taxpayers will final get some answers in the longstanding dispute between The Thomas Administration and Councilman Andre Wallace’s company Creative Direction Construction & Design (CDCD) over the unfinished Emergency Response Center (ERC) located in the firehouse at 50 W. Third Street.
Residents have been fed a plethora of conflicting information from both sides for two years now and it appears we will finally have a ruling after this upcoming hearing. On Monday the judge issued his latest ruling.
“The Court finds that the defendant’s engineer and the report submitted create sufficient issues of fact to require a hearing on the defendant’s counterclaim,” said state Supreme Court Justice Sam Walker.
In a statement Corporation Counsel for the City of Mount Vernon, Larry Porcari said. “The City of Mount Vernon is gratified that Judge Sam Walker has recognized the deficiencies in Councilman Andre Wallace’s work at the Third Street Firehouse.
Councilman Wallace tell BW he is looking forward to his day in court so all those who have been hurling baseless accusations at him for the past two years, including but not limited to Mayor Richard W. Thomas, Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Spiezio, Corporation Counsel Lawrence Porcari will have to testify in court.
‘This upcoming hearing is the beginning, and I look forward to taking this to a full trial and the opportunity to shed light on the situation,” Councilman Wallace tells BW. “We look forward to putting Michael Gianatasio [Universal Engineering Services], Joseph Spiezio, Mayor Thomas, Corporation Counsel Lawrence Porcari, Maria Donovan, and many others on the stand to testify regarding the firehouse. All our witnesses are lined up and ready , I’m hoping that theirs are too.”
Mt. Vernon Law Dept. Issued the following statement on Third Street Firehouse litigation:
Today, Monday, December 18, 2017, Westchester County Supreme Court Judge Sam Walker issues a decision in Creative Direction Construction & Design v. City of Mount Vernon. In his decision, which sets a trial in the matter, Judge Walker found that the city’s “engineering firm and the report submitted create sufficient issues of fact to require a hearing.”
Larry Porcari, Corporation Counsel, said. “The City of Mount Vernon is gratified that Judge Sam Walker has recognized the deficiencies in Councilman Andre Wallace’s work at the Third Street Firehouse. Mount Vernon, and its residents, have been ripped off for far too long by disreputable contractors and consultants who want to make a quick buck off our city. Accountability is back in City Hall and we will not let taxpayers be bilked out of the value they deserve.
We look forward to taking this contractor to trial. The city remains troubled by the recent news reports that the independent engineering firm, Universal Engineering Services, was pressured by Councilman Wallace to alter the results of their independent review of the site. We are currently reviewing this allegation and will refer the matter to outside authorities as necessary.”
“This is the day I’ve been waiting for. For the full truth to come out on public record,” Councilman Wallace continued. “My attorneys and I look forward to deposing Gianatasio and others.”
Justice Sam D. Walker is the same state Supreme Court justice who ordered Mount Vernon to pay CDCD, a company owned by Councilman Andre Wallace, $234,065.09 for work at the unfinished emergency response center located in the firehouse at 50 W. Third St., in November 2016.
CDCD sued the city February 25, 2016 for the money after almost a year of delays in paying the money owed that were set aside in the 2016 budget for CDCD to be paid.
Will this hearing bring about a resolution to this ongoing feud or just be the latest in saga of the Civil War in City Hall? We will have to wait and see, it’s in Justice Sam D. Walker’s hands now as he finally called for a hearing on the matter.
Here’s what Judge Walker’s Monday ruling says about the evidence submitted by both parties:
The defendant’s engineer submitted a detailed report and opines that the contract work was not completed; that the work which was performed was not performed in accordance with the contract specifications as set forth in the contract; that the work performed was defective and deficient; that the work performed is not in compliance with Federal and State handicapped accessibility requirements and the New York State Building Code and with the Building Code of the City of Mount Vernon. The report sets forth the specific defects discovered. The defendant avers that the work performed by the plaintiff was so defective that the Emergency Operations Center was never opened and is not usable in its present state.
According to Wallace, on August 14, 2015, the City’s Building Commissioner, Mark A. Warren, performed a walkthrough and inspection of the plaintiff’s work at the project and did not find the work to be defective, but instead wrote a letter to the council members requesting legislation to pay for the change order. The plaintiff contends that Comptroller, Maureen Walker, also wrote a letter opining that appropriate legislation be enacted to allow for proper payment for all work completed under the open contract and that the change order appears to be proper. Next, as per the plaintiff, Steve Lawrence, of the Department of Homeland Security, performed a final walk-through and inspection of the plaintiff’s work and did not find that the work performed was defective, deficient or incomplete.
Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story!