Pinnacle sued for construction payment

The Houston company that fabricated the steel frame of L’Auberge Baton Rouge has sued the casino’s parent company and two top executives for $1.9 million, court records in Livingston, Texas, show.

In its lawsuit, Postel Industries Inc. says money budgeted by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. to pay Postel was kept or used for other purposes. The lawsuit names as defendants Pinnacle, along with Chief Executive Officer Anthony Sanfilippo and Senior Vice President of Construction Kirk England.

Postel fabricated the steel and put up the frame for the casino project based on a $7.9 million contract with Pinnacle, President Mike Postel said.

Postel said his company has not been paid all that it is owed. He said Postel hasn’t been paid anything since around August 2012, and that no one from Pinnacle will talk to Postel about anything.

“They’re not paying us, and they don’t want to pay us,” Postel said. “We’re going after them.”

The casino opened in September.

Pinnacle spokeswoman Kerry Anderson said, as a matter of policy, the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Postel Industries is one of a handful of companies that have filed liens against L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge over the past few months. Postel’s lien, which totals $2.6 million, is the largest. Those liens were filed in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Postel’s lawsuit states it was filed in Livingston, Texas, because that’s where Postel Industries’ fabrication yard is located.

Postel is seeking $1.7 million to cover the cost of the steel and its services and $210,000 to cover the cost of attorneys and pursuing the case from the district court level through the appellate courts and to the Texas Supreme Court.

According to Pinnacle’s third-quarter earnings report, the company has spent $351.1 million of the $368.0 million budgeted for L’Auberge Baton Rouge, with $81.2 million of that during the third quarter. The total cost does not include land costs and interest.