Contractor sues developer for $64.9 million

April 16, 1995|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

The owner of a Havre de Grace construction company is suing the developers of Bayview Estates Section II for $64.9 million, contending that the developers breached contracts, leading to his company's filing for reorganization in federal bankruptcy court.

Robert L. Wood, president of Har-Ce Construction Inc., says that the developers -- Cecil F. Hill, president of Bayview Partnership Inc. of Havre de Grace; Leonard H. Lockhart of Rising Sun; and Drew Fender of Havre de Grace -- also conspired to hire another contractor who was willing to do the work specified in his contracts for less money.

Mr. Wood's lawsuit cites agreements dated July 25, 1989, and Jan. 31, 1990, as viable contracts signed by the developers for grading, water and sewer installation and drainage systems to be done by Har-Ce in Phase II and Phase III of the Bayview project.

He said his company was having problems collecting money from other customers and was "quite dependent upon the Bayview contracts for survival."

Mr. Wood said his company was ready and willing to fulfill its obligations, but that changes in the project caused a delay and ultimately forced him to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy status in January 1992.

Mr. Wood said the developers told him in February 1992 that his company's Chapter 11 status gave them the right to end their contracts with him.

Mr. Wood also contends that the developers repeatedly have told him that Bayview Estates had new owners and that the new owners were not going to honor the contracts with Har-Ce. He further contends that he hired a Bel Air attorney to research Harford County land records and learned that the real estate in question had not been sold. He said the corporate stock of Bayview Partnership Inc. may have changed hands, but not the real estate.

Mr. Wood contends that since the owner of the property did not change, the corporate owner -- Bayview Partnership Inc. -- was obligated to honor the contracts with his company.

Harold J. Tulley, a Bel Air attorney representing Mr. Wood, asked the Harford County Circuit Court for a jury trial. The lawsuit is seeking about $900,000 in compensatory damages and $64 million in punitive damages.

Mr. Fender cited the litigation as his reason for not wanting to discuss the lawsuit.

Calls to Mr. Hill and Mr. Lockhart were not returned.

In other Circuit Court matters last week:

* A Harford grand jury indicted a 35-year-old Bel Air man who is accused of incest, child abuse and rape involving his daughter between September 1992 and February 1995.

The eight-count indictment that included charges of assault, battery and sexual offenses was returned March 28 and became available last week after the defendant was arrested, charged and released on $25,000 bond.

The Sun will not identify the man so that the child's privacy could be protected.

* A 30-year-old Bel Air woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of cocaine distribution and was sentenced to five years in state prison with all but 18 months suspended.

Allison Faye Sawyer of the 700 block of Cedar Lane must serve two years' probation after completing the prison sentence. Other drug-related charges were dropped as part of a plea arrangement stemming from her October arrest.

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