Work Resumes On Replica Canals As Lawsuits Loom

7:01 PM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
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 PDF Document: Sam Hoyt Transcript  PDF Document: Thomas Dee Transcript

BUFFALO, NY - Touted as a crown jewel of Buffalo's waterfront renaissance, the replica canals of Canalside remain only half completed.

However, as work resumes to finish them, a court battle looms.

On Tuesday, workers from the Pike Company from Rochester, recently hired as general contractor for the project, could be seen doing g preliminary site work at the stalled project.

It has been three weeks since Pike was hired to resume the work, replacing the former general contractor, DiPizio Construction, whose contract was terminated.

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) made the switch alleging that DiPizio was deficient in its work on the $20 million project.

DiPizio has since filed three separate lawsuits against the ECHDC.

"We're waging a public and legal battle here to recover this company's good name," said Tony farina, who has been hired by DiPizio to be its spokesperson in the dispute.

"DiPizio didn't screw anything up...actually it was the state bungling that caused the delays... the money didn't arrive in time, the specs were changed, a lot of things happened that caused those delays," Farina said.  

Farina also believes that much of what DiPizio claims can be proven through the testimony of key ECHDC officials, who were called to the witness stand during a court hearing in July, when DiPizio sought (without success) to convince a judge to allow the company to continue to work on the project.

The transcripts of the testimony of ECHDC officials can be viewed in the PDF to the left of this story.

ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia declined comment on current litigation, but expressed a sense of satisfaction that construction has resumed.

"This is just a bump in the road," said Gioia. "When you see all the (other) activity that's going on , whether it's the Harbor Center or the Donovan Building renovation, I think people can be excited for what's taking place.

The new target date for the full completion of the replica canals is now in the last quarter of 2014, or about two years after they were originally supposed to be finished.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Dave Harrington. Follow Dave McKinley on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2



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