March 16, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – A Maryland union electrical contractor is trying to get the Trump Organization to cough up more than $2 million in unpaid bills for extra work it did as the company rushed to open its luxury Washington hotel last fall.
Freestate Electric filed a mechanic’s lien in December and asked D.C. Superior Court to enforce it in January. “We’ve only filed three [mechanics’ liens] in the past decade, so this is not usual for us,” Tim Miller, executive vice president of Freestate’s parent company, AES Electric, told the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “We did a good job, at an agreed upon price, and we want to be paid for it.” The project cost more than the original $13 million price because of $1.6 million worth of change orders, according to the suit, and because the hotel’s opening date was moved up so Trump’s presidential campaign could use it for events. Freestate says it had crews on the site seven days per week, 12 to 14 hours per day for nearly 50 consecutive days in order to get the work done on time—and it won a Washington Building Congress Craftsmanship award for the lighting its workers installed. The company has paid all its vendors and the hundreds of IBEW members who worked on the project, Miller said, so it is “in effect, floating [Trump] a $2 million interest-free loan.” Four other contractors are also suing Trump for nonpayment. The Trump Organization dismissed the liens as “nominal” and “not uncommon.” According to the suit, it offered to pay Freestate one-third of the $2 million on the final bill. Read more