McCarthy, Pinnacle in contracting spa...

McCarthy, Pinnacle in contracting spate over Lumiere Casino work

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#1 Jan 1, 2009
McCarthy, Pinnacle in contracting spate over Lumière Casino work
By Joe Whittington
Thursday, Jan. 01 2009
McCarthy Building Cos. has called the Lumière Casino complex's hand on a nearly
$5.7 million pot in St. Louis Circuit Court.

The construction giant that took more than two years to build the $507 million
casino-hotel-spa complex has filed a mechanic's lien for $5,685,873 against
Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. and Pinnacle's subsidiary Casino One Corp., which
owns the property.

The court papers say the action is for "labor, materials, equipment,
supervision, project, administration, services and work furnished buy claimant
and its subcontractors and suppliers under the contract, as amended, between
claimant and Casino One Corporation."

After being referred to Bob Herr, Pinnacle project director, a phone message
asking for comment was not returned.

McCarthy spokeswoman Susan Garritano replied by e-mail that the lien on the
Lumière Casino and Hotel was "done to protect McCarthy's interests under its
contract for amounts due McCarthy and its subcontractors. McCarthy is currently
in discussions with Pinnacle Entertainment and expects to finalize the contract
amount and receive final payment in early 2009."

No explanation was given as to what the sticking point is.

The casino complex opened in December 2007.

Although large, this figure is small compared with the court fight Walton
Construction launched against Ameristar Casino in St. Charles. Walton's suit,
filed in St. Charles County Circuit Court, was for $37.2 million.

As mentioned here before, Ameristar says the "vast majority" of Walton's claims
are unfounded and overstated, and that it has complaints about the construction
company's performance.

Walton, based in Kansas City, has recently come under scrutiny over a $21.3
million project for the Hazelwood School District.

The district has brought in the accounting firm of Wolff & Taylor because "we
are receiving bills for change orders and are having trouble reconciling them,"
said district spokesperson Diana Gulotta.

"Some of the subs say they are not getting paid," said Gulotta. "Based on what
we have been told by some of the subcontractors, we believe that amount exceeds
$1 million."

The contract is for work on the district's learning center, library, Brown
Elementary and Central High School.

Claims by subcontractors for payment from bond on the projects have been filed
in St. Louis County Circuit Court.

A phone message for comment from Steve Biederman, president of the construction
company's St. Louis division, was not returned.

EMBASSY SWEETS? A hotel and honeybees were the subjects of a recent chat with
Amos Harris.

Harris, the president of Brady Capital and a principal of Spinnaker St. Louis,
says there are still plans to place a 212-room Embassy Suites with a mixed-use
development in the old Dillard's building downtown.

"I should be ready by the first half of 2011," said Harris. "We'll be in the
planning phase all next year for the project.

"We will be looking for a retail partner with cash and experience," Harris
said. "General Growth (Properties) is no longer with us, but the development
plan hasn't changed."

And the 20,000 bees he and girlfriend Dr. Natalie Semchyshyn keep atop the old
Missouri Bank Building we wrote about in May?

"There's still a question on how they endure the cold weather," said the
celebrity keeper of the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association. "We
occasionally lift up the hives to see if they're still on their honey stores.

"We put an ear to the hive sometimes, like listening to a seashell. They're
like penguins; they keep in a clump to keep warm."

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