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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have plumbed several hotels in the past couple of years with one of our contractors. We were doing 2 hotels at the same time and had well over $50,000 still due in retainers after the jobs were complete. We started a 3rd hotel and the contractor said he had to fork out $200,000 cash to cover the bond for the subs. Because of this he said he would have to hold off on paying the retainers until this 3rd job was complete. The job was completed in January and the loan has closed (I think early last week). We weren't too worried about the money because we were supposed to start another hotel and an apartment complex for the same company; however, the owner died and the son decided he wasn't going to continue with the large jobs....so the jobs we were counting on basically aren't going to happen. I emailed the son (now owner) about when we were going to get paid. He left me a message stating that the money for the 3rd hotel should be here this week. I sent him another email asking about the other money reminding him that we were supposed to get paid when the bond money was released and he has not responded...this was 3 days ago. Now I'm sick that we aren't going to get our money and we really NEED it! We have contracts on all three jobs and the contract states that the contractor is supposed to pay the subs within 7 days of receiving payment so they are definitely in default with at least the first 2 hotels. The first two hotels have been open for over a year now!! I just don't know what to do at this point...should I call the banks or owners of the first two hotels and tell them that we haven't been paid? If we hire a lawyer, that will be even more money we have to dish out.
 

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Thom
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You will need to hire a local attorney with real experience in commercial construction litigation. Expect that the money is not there, the heirs have taken "their" cut already. You will need to file suit against both the company and the estate of the owner.

This is why you file liens timely. The longer you wait on this the less likely it is that you will ever recover a dime. Patience is not a winning strategy.

I know it's not what you want to hear but, an expensive specialist attorney is usually the cheapest. He won't need to spend hours (on your dime) doing research, he is less likely to make a mistake. Your best shot is your first shot, don't be sloppy with it.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The company didn't go to the heirs...the company was incorporated and is still in business. The business is planning on only doing small local jobs instead of large jobs. In WV, you have to sue within 6 months...the problem is that the retainer was not due within 6 months so we didn't have a claim to sue for. What I'm trying to say is that it would have been useless to file a lien at that time due to our local laws.
 

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I am still trying to figure out why you would start a 3rd hotel when the first two weren't paid for yet?... :blink:

BIG red flashing sign, especially since the death of the guy you made the deal with in the first place...

By all means, meet with a lawyer to discuss your options in case it comes to that, but screw email... get in your car go over and TALK to him... get the story straight from his mouth. Tell him, you understand that this must be a very stressful time for him, but you hadn't heard back from him, so you thought it would be better to meet.

Be forthright... tell him you can't start the 3rd job until the first two are paid for. If arrangements need to be made, so be it... but get whatever you discuss in writing with HIS signature on it... and hold him to it...

Stress the fact that you have been working with them waiting for the money but now you are in the position of needing the money and can no longer wait on it...

IMHO. you'd be nuts to start a THIRD job before getting the other two satisfied... in fact, use that as a line of demarcation... the third job can be under the sons rule... but you can't move forward to work with him without getting the other bills paid first...

Best of luck... 8^)
 

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With the proper verbage your contract would negate the need for filing a lien within a 100 days of the last day you worked/delivered product or service.....Haven't you been back for operator training or warantee work required by contract.....
Then the six months starts after the lien is filled

Call a real lien lawyer, offer them a % of collections......

File a claim on the Bond You and your friends paid for....

Report this dud to the credit bureaus.
 

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shouldnt do project #2 w.o being paid for project #1....you did project #3!!!!

too much money to play games with....you shouldnt work for people like this....unacceptable....if he had no $$ he needed to take out a line of credit and pay you...instead he used you as his bank

the dollar amount should = extreme caution when it comes to payment...instead you treated it like a normal small $2000 job....

i never give up my lien rights....NEVER......if you did the pre lien and kept up with the things you needed to do thats the route i ALWAYS take....ive never lost $1, but ive P.O'd tons of builders/homeowners with Lien threats/actions

im glad im a small shop when i hear stories like this....i fight over $400 typically with nonpayers....not $100,000-$150,000....id be sick for weeks over that kind of loss
 

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Particulate Filter
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Looking at the retainages and the time frames it seems hard to believe this wasnt a plan or back up plan of the general from the start.

The son doesnt need to do the big jobs if he just doesnt payout the 1.5 million he owes to the various subs.

Might be time to round up a posse of everyone you met on that job and teach that kid a lesson about fing with the subs money.
 

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I have to say, I've never started phase two without getting my money for the first phase. But that's not the point now. Do yourself a big favor and get an attorney....tomorrow!

Getting an attorney is the cheapest thing you can do. It doesn't sound like the GC has any intentions to pay.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
 

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The Ultimate Wire Hider
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Maybe I'd be a sucker for this same situation but based on what was said in the OP, it sounds as if the son hasn't paid anyone because he is just trying to get his head in the game and figure out what's going on. I don't think that he's trying to avoid paying.

But having said that, you have to be persistent. I'd call the guy every day to find out the status of your money. People in his situation get overwhelmed and they forget about taking care of people like you. Not that it's a good excuse or that it's acceptable but this is what happens.

You just want to get paid and he isn't trying to screw you over. But you will have to put more effort into getting your money than you can expect him to put into getting it to you.
 

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I hope you treated the retainage like I do. I always added the amount onto whatever I actuly wanted for the job.

having said that, I would turn into the the harrassment king. Phone calls every day and night.
Reports to all credit bureaus. Report to D and B. Contact the bonding insurance company. All of these with constant phone, email and collection letters.

By the way, in most instances if you had to warrent the work and made any calls to fix, that would restart your 100 day clock. Something I learned from a helpful attorney involved in collections.
 
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