Contractor files lawsuit for final bridge payment

The Ohio company that built a railroad bridge for the River Park project has filed a lawsuit against developer Pete Clements, claiming he still owes $437,000 for the work.

The W.M. Brode Co. lawsuit, filed in 19th Judicial District Court, says River Park hired the firm in 2008 to build the bridge and a temporary run-around, known as a “shoofly,” so rail traffic wouldn’t be interrupted. W.M. Brode’s contract was for $4.4 million.

River Park held back 10 percent of the total to make sure all the workers and material suppliers were paid, the lawsuit says. Although W.M. Brode said it completed the bridge and paid workers and suppliers, River Park didn’t make the final payment.

Clements said he has not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it.

However, there were issues with the bridge’s construction, Clements said. For one thing, W.M. Brode did not finish the work on time, which he said cost River Park “a lot of money.” For another, the waterproof membrane installed to protect the steel underneath the bridge is leaking, and the steel is rusting.

The lawsuit says River Park was supposed to use part of a $10 million loan to make the final payment, but the payment wasn’t made because River Park spent that money on other projects or to pay bills.

W.M. Brode says River Park and Clements violated the 2008 contract and didn’t act in good faith.

The River Park project is a 50-acre mixed-use development that will include restaurants, live music venues, hotels, residences and a park and boardwalk along the Mississippi River. In September, Clements said almost all of the financing for the project was in place. On Thursday, Clements said arranging the financing for the project — estimated to cost $600 million — is a time-consuming process, but he expects to complete it shortly.