City, Builders Dispute Palm Desert Aquatic Center Payments
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
Reported by Thalia Hayden, KMIR6 News
PALM DESERT - A financial dispute is making waves at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center.
The subcontractors who built the $7.7 million facility in June 2011 say they still haven't gotten paid for their work. But who owes them money? The general contractor or the city?
Swimmer Betsy Williams enjoys taking a refreshing dip in the pool at the Aquatic Center.
"It is beautiful and it's nice for our community."
Members of the pool say they love coming here.
"To look out and see the mountains and all the different pools and activities, it's just wonderful," says swim enthusiast Phyllis DeLong.
Many swimmers enjoying the pool say they've heard about the money controversy going on behind closed doors.
"Yea, its the contractor not paying the workers," recalls Williams.
It's been 8 months since work on the pool was complete and still roughly $2.3 million in construction bills are yet to be paid to the subcontractors.
"They need to pay their people, the workers who did this," Williams says.
The primary contractor on the project was ASR Contractors, based in Riverside. KMIR6 reached out to the President of the company for a comment, but our calls were unanswered.
A Palm Desert official says since ASR Contractors won't pay for the work that's been done, the subcontractors are now going after the city for their money.
Palm Desert City Attorney David Erwin says even though the city has no contractual agreement with the subcontractors, its common for subcontractors to put liens on the city and that's because the city's the one holding the money.
And while the swimmers at the pool say they don't get involved in the politics of it, they don't want to see their favorite pool shut down over a money dispute.
"Then I would get deeply involved politically," DeLong warns. "I'd be very upset, oh no it cannot close down."
But Erwin says that's not going to happen. He says at this point, the contractor and subcontractors will have to duke it out in court.