Each had sued other over construction

More than two years after Charleston and the builder of its new municipal building sued each other over the construction job, a settlement has been reached and final repairs are underway to fix problems that included rain leaking into the building.

Bill Bundy, a lawyer who represented the city, said taxpayers came out ahead in the deal.

"Basically, the city didn't pay any more than it agreed to, and any additional funds were paid by the architects," he said. "The ultimate cost to the city was less than if there had been no lawsuit at all, and they got a better product."

The dispute was resolved with the city agreeing to increase the contract with Loveless Construction by $310,523, which brings the total contract to just over $5 million. At the same time, Goff D'Antonio architects and its insurance carrier agreed to pay the city $390,000.

"We just felt it was important to move on," said Hank D'Antonio. "We are continuing to assist the city with the repair work, which we are getting paid for."

Ken Loveless, of Loveless Construction, said he doubted the city really came out ahead on the settlement, as Bundy suggested.

"They have all these amounts of money they paid somebody to sue us," he said. "It's voodoo economics if they are saying it didn't cost the city anything."

The Reuben M. Greenberg Municipal Building was dedicated in January 2005, but four months later Loveless sued the city, claiming the city provided building plans containing errors and omissions, obstructed work on the project and then failed to pay more than $1 million to cover the unexpected costs that resulted.

The city countersued, saying Loveless owed an unspecified amount of money to the city for defective work and for failing to complete work on time. At the time, Loveless blamed design problems and Goff D'Antonio blamed construction problems.

The agreement ending the litigation assigns no blame.

The municipal building on Lockwood Drive, with a total price tag of about $7 million, was constructed to give the police department more space and to create new municipal courtrooms and offices for city and state business.

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