Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 15, 2013

Judge rules against GT Road Commission


---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse County Road Commission could be on the hook for more than $300,000 owed to a contractor over a disputed road project.

Interlochen-based contractor ATP Precision Paving sued the road commission in January. Commission officials wouldn't fully pay ATP for a road improvement project at Garfield Township's Foxcraft Estates, court records state. Commission officials contended ATP's work did not meet contractual requirements because of water-ponding in the road and other issues. They wanted ATP to fix the work, but ATP refused.

ATP officials argued that any work deficiencies could have been solved or avoided if road commission officials properly inspected the project, according to court documents.

Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers ruled in favor of ATP following a two-day bench trial last week.

"The judge concluded that the road commission shared responsibility for whatever suggested deficiencies there might be with the road," said Norm Droste, an attorney for ATP.

Road commission Chairman Carl Brown disagreed.

"The judge had to have his reasons, but I don't necessarily agree with them," Brown said.

Court documents filled by Droste state the road commission owes ATP about $303,000, including about $38,000 in interest and $10,000 in other costs. Both parties are still finalizing those figures.

The amount also includes a $28,000 reduction for some deficiencies in ATP's work, according to court records.

Road commission attorney Karrie Zeits said the road board can appeal Rodgers' decision.

Brown said board members will consider an appeal at their next meeting.