The University of California at Santa Barbara last month terminated Melchiori Construction Co., a firm that says it was the area's biggest general contractor and construction manager, from a $6.5-million building project.
Because the project, started in March 2010, remains unfinished and "the contractor is many months behind schedule," the university state that it has also "made demand" of Western Surety Co., a Woodland Hills, Calif.-based company that supplied performance and payment bonds for Melchiori.
In news reports in Santa Barbara, subcontractors have complained about late payments and disputes with Melchiori. The state Contractor Licensing Board cited the firm once in March and again in April for failing to pay a subcontractor, but Melchiori has disputed the citations.
An attorney for Melchiori, Kristine Mollenkopf, says that general contractor-subcontractor disputes are common.
in the case of the university building the school is to blame for delays that she says have put Melchiori in the position of acting as the "financier." The university has unfairly withheld about $2.5 million from Melchiori covering work required by a blizzard of change orders, she says.