Gallo Center builder sued

A steel company is suing the primary contractor that built the Gallo Center for the Arts, alleging that it is owed $91,000 for its work on the $40 million project.

Pacific Coast Steel of San Diego is seeking a final payment from Clark & Sullivan, the company that won a $21.1 million contract to build the arts center in 2003.

Dick Cowan, a Clark & Sullivan vice president, said the company viewed the Pacific Coast Steel complaint as a routine filing meant to protect its stake when Stanislaus County closes the project.

It's "pretty much to make sure Pacific Coast is in the room when the final payment is made and all the cash is distributed," Cowan said.

Stanislaus County officially has not closed the project. It is withholding a little more than $2 million until it accepts Clark & Sullivan's work.

After that time, Clark & Sullivan expects to wrap up its remaining payments to subcontractors, Cowan said.

Clark & Sullivan hired Pacific Coast Steel as a subcontractor on the project with a $672,000 contract in March 2004. It ended up performing about $749,600 worth of work, according to the lawsuit.

Clark & Sullivan, a Nevada company with offices in Sacramento County, filed a lawsuit against Stanislaus County in January, alleging it was underpaid for work it performed. The company claimed the county changed the project and did not describe it adequately in construction documents, which led to increased charges. The county denied those claims.

Clark & Sullivan has not identified how much it is seeking with its lawsuit.

Cowan said the company must submit its final bill by Nov. 9.

Stanislaus County contributed $15 million to the Gallo Center, though it is operated by the nonprofit Central Valley Center for the Arts. The nonprofit also raised money to pay for the building's construction.

Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.