Larchmont’s business district is looking a lot better these days after dozens of new trees were planted, lighting was improved and benches were installed for weary shoppers to rest on.
It is also more accessible because of the sidewalk, curb cut and road improvements made as part of the village’s $2.7 million Palmer Avenue Streetscape project, which was completed last year.
But what grateful pedestrians, motorists, and business owners may not know is that the construction company that did all this, and one of its subcontractors, are now embroiled in a payment dispute.
Village administrator Justin Datino confirmed Wednesday that Pat Kearns Electric, a company based in Putnam County, filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court naming the village and McNamee Construction Corp. of Westchester as defendants earlier this month.
(Kearns operates out of Carmel, while McNamee’s headquarters are in the Lincolndale hamlet of the town of Somers.)
Kearns’ suit claims that McNamee owes it $69,000 for work done on the project.
Dan McNamee, president of the construction company, Wednesday calling it a “small matter,” said the money was withheld because Kearns had failed to complete some of the work.
“The guy is asking for money for something he didn’t do,” McNamee said.
Kearns’ attorney, Gregory Folchetti, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Datino explained that the project was partly funded with state and federal grants and that the village is obligated to retain “custody” of the money to ensure that everyone involved gets paid.
Now that the lien has morphed into a lawsuit, there’s nothing the village can do until the issue is resolved in court, Datino said.
Larchmont’s attorney James Staudt said Wednesday that the argument is between its contractor and the subcontractor and that the village has to hold onto the funds until the court makes a ruling.
Meanwhile, Datino said, the village is very happy with the project’s results.
Dozens of new trees have been planted and new sidewalks and bike racks installed, so not only is that part of Palmer Avenue more aesthetically pleasing, it’s more accessible as well.
“Everything looks great,” he said.