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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review
/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Chick Seeks Answers in Sewage Plant Dispute

April 07, 1999

LOS ANGELES — Concerned by reports of a multimillion-dollar dispute between Los Angeles city officials and contractors who built an expansion of the city's main sewage treatment plant, City Councilwoman Laura Chick introduced a motion Tuesday seeking to pry loose answers about who is right and how much the city may be forced to pay to resolve the issues.

Her motion, seconded by Councilwomen Rita Walters and Ruth Galanter, would give the Board of Public Works and the city attorney's office two weeks to report to the council on the status of cases growing out of the construction project.

So far, two cases have been filed, seeking roughly $54 million for changes that the contractors say the city is responsible for ordering. Another claim against the city was filed and the city did not respond within the allotted time, meaning that the contractor could file a lawsuit against the city any time. That lawsuit, which could seek $56 million, is expected to be filed by the end of the week, sources familiar with the case said Tuesday.

Although they declined to comment on details of the cases because of the pending litigation, city officials generally have minimized the contractors' complaints, saying that disputes at the end of construction projects are common and arguing that the contractors are attempting to force the city to pay for builders' mistakes.

"The council is charged with the important task of protecting taxpayer dollars and ensuring that all funds are spent wisely," Chick said in her motion. "The council should be concerned about this contract dispute."

Chick's motion is expected to be considered by the council next week.

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