No completion date in sight as NY Wheel battle continues in court

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — As part of a federal court battle with the contractor it fired in May, the New York Wheel is seeking engineering documents to make sure parts used for the 630-foot-high tourist attraction were fabricated correctly, according to court papers.

A high-stakes feud over project delays and work payments between the New York Wheel’s developer and the project’s fired contractor, the Holland-based Mammoet-Starneth, has been playing out in federal court since May.

Mammoet-Starneth had suspended work on May 26 and threatened to terminate the contract. The company alleged NY Wheel had failed to make required payments, the complaint said. The company alleges the NY Wheel owes $38 million for work completed, according to court documents.

Subsequently, the NY Wheel fired Mammoet-Starneth, and filed a counter lawsuit in federal court.

INJUNCTION REQUEST

The NY Wheel is asking a federal judge to grant an injunction that will compel Mammoet-Starneth to hand over engineering information to a potential new contractor, American Bridge Company. NY Wheel contends the information is vital to finish the project, said court papers.

“NYW [New York Wheel] contends not only that it is entitled to these documents pursuant to the parties agreement, but also that they are discoverable in this action and necessary, among other things, to confirm that the Wheel components at issue in NYW’s motion for a preliminary injunction were fabricated according to a sound erection methodology — i.e., to confirm that these components can eventually be assembled into a functioning observation wheel on Staten Island,” wrote Anne Champion, a partner at the law firm Gibson and Dunn, which represents New York Wheel in its lawsuit against Mammoet-Starneth, in a Nov. 6 letter to Judge Jesse M. Furman.

Champion said in the letter that the NY Wheel is asking that “certain erection engineering documents,” be handed over to the potential new contractor, American Bridge Company — a company that built the Vegas High Roller — in order to finish the job.

The next court date is for a pre-trial conference on Tuesday, according to court papers.

COURT SQUABBLES

Mammoet-Starneth contends the NY Wheel “poorly supervised the project” in court documents.

“There was a material risk that its crane and equipment would sink into the ground and/or the ground would give out underneath them,’squeezing’ the subsoil, along with the crane (and possibly the Wheel) out into the New York Harbor,”…

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