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Paving contractor sues Smithtown for $1.8 million; alleges nonpayment for work

Smithtown Town Hall is on Main Street in

Smithtown Town Hall is on Main Street in Smithtown on Feb. 20, 2012. Credit: Erin Geismar

An asphalt contractor has sued the Town of Smithtown for more than $1.8 million, alleging the company has not been paid for work performed -- including on roads cited in a case that has resulted in criminal charges against the town's highway superintendent.

Medford-based Suffolk Asphalt Corp. filed the suit on May 7 in Suffolk County Supreme Court in Riverhead, alleging that Smithtown breached its contract by failing to pay for asphalt paving, milling and related work completed over nearly 11 weeks in 2013 and 2014.

Steven G. Pinks, the Hauppauge-based attorney for Suffolk Asphalt, said the town did not issue payment after he filed a notice of claim on March 23 and must respond to the suit within 20 days of receiving the complaint.

"It's unfortunate that my client -- who had to pay his laborers on a weekly basis and pay for the asphalt and raw materials and the cost -- hasn't been paid for the work," Pinks said in an interview Saturday. "That $1.8 million is not profit."

Smithtown Town Attorney Matthew Jakubowski and Supervisor Patrick Vecchio both declined to comment Tuesday, citing pending litigation.

In 2013, Suffolk Asphalt was awarded a $4.2 million contract for asphalt paving work. In 2014, the annual contract was extended an additional year, town officials said.

On Nov. 18, 2014, Suffolk Asphalt paved at least eight Smithtown roads in freezing temperatures that fall below state Department of Transportation standards, the Suffolk County district attorney's office has said.

Smithtown Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen, 63, of St. James, pleaded not guilty on April 1 to four felonies and a misdemeanor for allegedly falsifying documents related to the November paving project and hiding a file under his bed. He is due back in court July 27, Suffolk County First District Court officials said Tuesday.

Pinks said he didn't believe Jorgensen's case impacted Suffolk Asphalt's suit, which also seeks interest on withheld money and litigation costs. "There's only a couple of roads that are affected by that temperature dispute," he said. "The majority of our claim has nothing to do with temperature."

On May 1, Jorgensen issued a work order for Suffolk Asphalt to begin paving multiple roads, at an estimated cost of more than $1 million, starting May 11, according to town records.

Pinks said Suffolk Asphalt plans to continue paving despite the litigation to avoid being in breach of its contract.

If the company refused to do the work, Pinks said, the town could "hire a different contractor and back-charge my client for the difference between my client's price and whatever price they obtain from a competing contractor. And that's something that we didn't really want to confront."

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