Two prominent Richmond builders are taking legal action against one another over a Scott’s Addition apartment project.
David Gammino’s City and Guilds Construction and Louis Salomonsky’s SWA Construction have sued each other in separate suits this month. The two companies are at odds over construction on a building formerly owned by Justin French and currently being renovated into one of the neighborhood’s latest apartment developments.
City and Guilds sued SWA Construction on July 3, alleging that the firm, headed by Louis and Stephen Salomonsky, refused to pay for more than $500,000 worth of work Gammino’s company says it performed as a contractor on the Norfolk Street property.
The project, known as the Boulevard Lofts, consists of a 90-unit apartment conversion and construction of a new Urban Farmhouse cafe.
In a suit of its own filed July 18, SWA alleges that City and Guilds “substantially overstated” its applications for payment for its work on the project. SWA’s case claims City and Guilds falsely represented subcontractor billings and requested payment in excess of labor and materials it provided.
Both cases were filed in Richmond Circuit Court and pertain to City and Guilds’ work between November 2013 and March 2014 at 3031 Norfolk St. It’s one of two buildings the Salomonsky company is rehabbing at the corner of Norfolk and Summit. His firm bought the buildings at a foreclosure after they were left unfinished in the wake of developer Justin French’s imprisonment.
Both sides agree that SWA paid City and Guilds nearly $1 million for work at the site so far. City and Guilds says the cost of the work totals more than $1.4 million, and its suit is seeking the difference.
But SWA claims City and Guilds’ work on the building was shoddy and that it has discovered numerous “deficiencies, errors and omissions.” It claims it has found mold and water damage to finished work, among other alleged defects.
SWA further alleges Gammino and James Fink, also of City and Guilds, intentionally understated certain costs when they bid on the project in hopes of winning the contract but never intending to complete its work for the agreed-upon price.
SWA is seeking $895,000 in damages, arguing that City and Guilds breached its contract by providing substandard work at the Boulevard Lofts. SWA wants another $1.1 million in damages for its claims that City and Guilds submitted a fraudulent bid to secure the project.
Stephen Salomonsky declined to comment beyond what is stated in SWA’s court filing. Gammino did not respond to a request for comment.
SWA Construction says it reached an agreement with City and Guilds to apply all labor, equipment and materials for its work on the Boulevard Lofts for a fixed price of $4.96 million.
Once it began working on the project in November, however, City and Guilds says SWA Construction demanded it use different subcontractors and follow a set of plans different from the ones used to craft its bid for the job.
When it submitted its first application for payment in December, City and Guilds claims SWA paid $46,000 less than what was billed. The shortfalls continued for several months until City and Guilds say it threatened to walk away from the job.
But SWA obtained an independent review of the payment applications and found the numbers City and Guilds asked for were overstated, its suit claims.
City and Guilds left the worksite in March in a mutual decision to end the contract between the two sides, both suits state.
City and Guilds then submitted a final payment application, but claims SWA Construction has made no payments since then. SWA counters that an independent review showed that the final payment application for $482,412 was overstated.
City and Guilds is being represented by Cook, Heyward, Lee, Hopper and Feehan attorneys Allan Heyward and David Hopper. SWA Construction is being represented by James Moore of law firm Christian and Barton.
Neither side has filed a response to the other’s lawsuit. No trial date has yet been scheduled for either complaint.