Delay results in lawsuit


Erica Magda

By Lauren Laws

Construction delays initially pushed back the completion of 310 Burnham Apartments at 310 E. Springfield Ave. Now, a stop order is holding further progress after 13 mechanic’s liens filed by Burnham subcontractors.

The liens, or holds against a property, filed against ISBI-Pickus Burnham Apartments LLC. request that Pickus, the owner and prime contractor of the building, pay the subcontractors the remaining amount agreed upon in their initial contracts.

“We have a couple of months worth of work that hasn’t been paid for,” said David Blager, owner of Blager Concrete. “We were paid along the way and now near the end, the amount is being held from us.”

Construction began on 310 Burnham in February 2007 and was supposed to be completed on June 1, 2008. However, work wasn’t completed until the end of October, said Louis Pickus, president of The Pickus Companies of Highland Park.

Construction of the structure was handled by Jacobsmeyer-Mauldin Construction Company. Pickus claimed that Jacobsmeyer-Mauldin missed their delivery dates, pushed back the completion date and increased additional costs that now need to be addressed.

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“Jacobsmeyer-Mauldin is asking for the balance of their contract,” Pickus said. “We want to reduce final payment, but they’re not willing to help us with additional costs.”

However, Kurt Mauldin, vice president of Jacobsmeyer-Mauldin, said his company is not at fault.

“The delays were caused by the weather,” Mauldin said. “Concrete is very sensitive to weather conditions and it caused delays. It’s out of our control.”

Some of the subcontractors said they have not been informed of why they haven’t been paid, but ideas have surfaced.

“The issue that they’re saying is claiming delays,” said Jackson Glisson, attorney for Jacobsmeyer-Mauldin. “It’s inconsistent with what they’ve told people in the past. Our speculation is that the contractor got upside down (ran out of money) on the job and is looking for excuses not to pay the subcontractors.”

Pickus disagreed.

“That is, with a 100 percent certainty, not the case,” Pickus said. “We feel that Pickus shouldn’t have to absorb delay costs that were caused by Jacobsmeyer-Mauldin.”

Pickus explained that the National Electrical Benefit Fund Pension Union and the Illinois State Board of Investment helped pay for the project and payments went through Chicago Title and Trust.

“They have an extremely tight control over the dollars spent on it,” Pickus said. “There’s been a lot of talk because of dispute with Jacobsmeyer-Mauldin and they’re wanting to be certain everything is proper.”

Pickus has obtained security with Chicago Title and Trust and said money is moving again.

“People are being paid again and we’re trying to keep the money flowing,” Pickus said.

Pickus added that the company does not want other subcontractors and suppliers to be victims in the issue between Jacobsmeyer-Mauldin and them.

“All the substance suppliers will be paid,” Pickus said.