Stanislaus County likely will withhold $2.2 million from the primary contractor that built the Gallo Center for the Arts until it resolves a billing dispute.
The Board of Supervisors today is scheduled to vote on closing six smaller Gallo Center contracts while holding on to 10 percent of the $22.2 million it has agreed to pay Clark & Sullivan Builders.
Clark & Sullivan won its contract to build the Gallo Center in April 2004 and was supposed to finish the work by the spring of 2006. The center opened in September, more than a year late.
Clark & Sullivan filed a lawsuit against the county in January, alleging that design flaws and contract changes caused the hang-ups. The county responded by saying Clark & Sullivan "failed to perform all conditions, covenants and promises required to be performed."
Despite the tough legal language, Clark & Sullivan and the county remain cordial when discussing the contracts. They tend to characterize the discrepancies as typical for a project as expensive and detailed as the $40 million Gallo Center.
County Counsel Michael Krausnick said the county has not received Clark & Sullivan's final bill. In court records, the company indicates it is seeking more than $1 million.
Dick Cowan, the company's vice president in its Sacramento office, could not be reached Monday.
Krausnick called the item going to the supervisors today the "first step" in resolving the dispute between the county and the company. It acknowledges that Clark & Sullivan has finished its work and encourages the company to collect its last notices from its subcontractors.
"With a case of this magnitude, sometimes it does take a while to resolve" the bills, Krausnick said. "But we're still cautiously optimistic that we'll be able to resolve it in the relatively near future."
Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2366.