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Overdue at the library

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Tempers have been flaring over work at the new Grosse Pointe Public Library-Ewald Branch lately. A landscaper and a construction subcontractor charge they are being screwed out of thousands of dollars by their contractor, S.G. Construction Services.

“This whole thing is just ridiculous,” says Harry Reister, owner of Reister Co., Inc., which did landscaping work at the 15,800-square-foot library in September and October. “We worked for 574 hours — until the ground froze up.”

Work on the grounds of the library, which opened on Jan. 22, began in the fall when S.G. subcontracted Reister, along with Giulio Construction, of Detroit, which did cement work around the structure.

Altogether, Harry Reister says he’s owed $8,518 by S.G. for landscape and irrigation work he’s done, while Giulio Pruccoli, owner of Giulio Construction, claims the contractor owes him $24,800 for cement work around the site.

“Slavery is alive and well in Grosse Pointe,” laments Reister, who says the money is owed for installing sprinklers, laying topsoil and planting trees. “We’ve done this for 40 years — we do real nice work.”

Pruccoli’s also fed up. “They can never get me an answer,” he says, referring to S.G. “The guy in charge is never there.” Pruccoli says he has a crew of four, each of whom he pays $24.97 per hour for their work. “I pay them every week — I pay everybody; I’d like to get paid too.”

John Avendt, a consultant with S.G., which is located in Brighton, declined comment, saying the matter was being handled by their legal department. But Paul Wills, a consultant to the library board from the construction and design firm Plante & Moran CRESA, painted a different picture than Pruccoli and Reister. He says Pruccoli’s work didn’t fit the architect’s specifications, and Reister had only partially completed the landscaping work.

Wills characterizes the disagreement as “a contractual dispute,” adding that Reister has only done “36 percent” of the work. “It’s a dispute between a contractor and subcontractors,” he says.

Reister, however, remains adamant. “If they paid even 36 percent … that would be good.”

News Hits is compiled by Curt Guyette. Contact this column at 313-202-8004 or at NewsHits@metrotimes.com

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