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Contractors sued for nonpayment of Charleston airport construction work

Charleston International Airport (copy)

Workers completed the $200 million renovation and expansion of Charleston International Airport in 2016. File/Leroy Burnell/Staff

A mechanical contractor is suing the lead builders and their bonding agencies for nonpayment of work performed during the $200 million makeover of Charleston International Airport.

Bell Constructors of Rochester, N.Y., claims in its civil lawsuit filed this month in Charleston County the joint venture of Texas-based Austin Commercial and Hitt Contracting of Virginia has not paid nearly $900,000 for labor and materials as part of Bell's $22.4 million subcontract at the airport.

Bell Constructors is suing the two builders for breach of contract and asking the court to place a lien on any proceeds not yet collected by the lead contractors related to the airport work. The company also is suing three bonding agencies — Federal Insurance Co., Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. — over the payment bond.

The subcontractor is not suing Charleston County Aviation Authority, which owns and operates Charleston International. The renovation and expansion of the state's largest airport wrapped up in late 2016.

"Bell Constructors has provided labor, materials and services to (the contractors) having a reasonable worth and value of in excess of $882,937.50 for which Bell Constructors has not been paid," the lawsuit alleges.

The subcontractor said in the lawsuit it demanded payment to no avail.

Representatives of the lead builders did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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