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Glen Cove dismisses company renovating park restrooms

The restroom area near the beach at Morgan

The restroom area near the beach at Morgan Park in Glen Cove on Aug. 4, 2018. Credit: Danielle Silverman

The City of Glen Cove dismissed a Queens construction company from its work renovating the Morgan Park restrooms after alleged “poor performance” and is considering legal action, city officials said.

Glen Cove paid East Coast USA Construction more than $150,000 even though there was no signed contract with the company, city officials said at a July 31 City Council meeting.

East Coast’s owner, Jaspreet Singh, said in an interview last week that his company performed high-quality work and that he may sue the city for money he said East Coast is owed.

In April 2017, the council approved East Coast’s $259,000 bid for the renovations. It was so far below the other bid, which was for $644,000, that parks and recreation director Darcy Belyea told Newsday at the time that she checked the company’s references to ensure the firm did quality work, and they were “glowing.”

City spokeswoman Lisa Travatello said in emails that the “city terminated its relationship with East Coast Construction on July 26 due to poor performance” that included “inadequate staffing and poor workmanship.”

Singh said the allegations were “not true at all.” He said the project was a challenge because “their blueprints were completely way off for the work we had to do,” and Belyea did not respond to about 100 emails and phone calls on changes Singh recommended.

Singh said most of the work is complete, and he had expected his workers to finish the project by late August.

City Attorney Charles McQuair declined to respond to Singh’s assertions.

“We do not comment on pending legal matters, especially ones that dispute the quality of work and work performance,” he said in a statement.

The project will be rebid, Travatello said.

City officials at the July 31 council meeting were unable to explain why there was no signed contract, although Travatello said in an email on Friday that “under competitive bidding, the bid book contains the contractual terms/specifications/scope of work and is the contract.”

Yet, Councilwoman Marsha Silverman said in an interview that even if a contract was part of the bid book, “it was never executed by either party. At a minimum, that was supposed to have been signed.”

Silverman said the confusion over the contract reflects the lack of detailed procurement and bid procedures that she has long advocated.

“We paid a vendor over $150,000 that we did not have a contract for,” she said at the meeting. “I am appalled and disgusted that this city could do that.”

Mayor Timothy Tenke proposed at the meeting that the city pay Glen Cove architect James O’Grady $5,000 to assess the work done on the restrooms and determine what work remains. But after council members and residents criticized the proposal, the council defeated it in a 6-1 vote, with Tenke voting against his own resolution, saying city employees have enough expertise to make the determination.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the vote tally.

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