Contractor for Mystic Streetscape sued

Groton - The contractors working to complete the $6 million Mystic Streetscape project are the target of a lawsuit filed last month by electrical suppliers who are seeking more than $323,000.

Summers Group Inc., doing business as Rexel CLS, filed suit on Dec. 20 against Pettini Contracting Corp. of Mystic.

The suit stems from a March 5 contract in which Rexel agreed to furnish Pettini with a variety of electrical and lighting equipment for the project.

The equipment includes custom-made street lights, poles and fixtures, and wall lights and wire.

West Hartford attorney Charles Miller, representing Rexel, said the materials were supplied on credit between April 19 through July 31, with an agreement that payment would be received within 30 days of the invoice being issued.

"My client has not received any payment," Miller said.

"There has also been a failure to respond to a written demand for payment," he said.

Miller said that while he recognizes that payments are sometimes delayed on large projects such as Mystic's, the absence of any communication or information from Pettini prompted the suit.

A representative from Pettini could not be reached to comment on Thursday.

The suit names the Town of Groton and The Washington Trust Company as "garnishees," an attempt to freeze either Pettini's bank funds or garnish the town's payments to Pettini as part of a prejudgment remedy.

Rexel is seeking $323,317 in the suit, including $248,181 in principal and $75,000 more in service charges, interest and attorneys fees.

Pettini is months behind the July 1 scheduled deadline to complete the Mystic Streetscape project.

The project involves improvements to sidewalks, parking, landscaping, street lighting and underground utilities along West Main Street.

While the major work is done, Pettini has yet to install street furnishings such as trash bins, benches and hand rails, according to project manager Rick Norris.

AT&T has yet to remove several utility poles, he said.

Norris declined to comment on the suit, referring questions to the town attorney.

Town Manager Mark Oefinger has said in past interviews that there is a penalty clause in the contract with Pettini, which could be subject to liquidation damages of up to $500 a day for work done past the agreed- upon completion date.

Oefinger could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

The town has yet to solicit bids on Phase II of the project, which would involve paving and new sidewalks on Water Street.

g.smith@theday.com

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