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Lawsuit filed over convention center project - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Lawsuit filed over convention center project

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A project meant to bring Texarkana, Arkansas economic development is now facing a lawsuit and more than $1.4 million in liens.
    
The contractors are claiming the developer owes them money for labor, services and materials furnished in the construction of the Arkansas Convention Center and Hotel.

The Arkansas Convention Center and Holiday Inn Hotel is a new 100,000 square foot complex built over 12 acres in the Crossroads Business Park.

In 2011, construction began on the project.

Mayor Wayne Smith was on hand at the groundbreaking to thank the developer Dr. Hiren Patel for shouldering the financial costs of the business venture.

"We're so appreciative that you stuck with us and this project, through the thick and thin of it," said Mayor Smith.

Now that the facility is completed, a lawsuit has been filed claiming that Patel breached contract and has refused to pay the EBCO General Contractor for more than $1 million dollars worth of work.

Miller County Patriot Dwayne Hall says he doesn't want to see the legal matters tarnish the project's potential.

"I hope the convention center does well, the city's invested alot of money in it, it's suppose to bring us back jobs," said Hall. "We're looking forward to that."

Resident Gregg Jones says the convention center may not be a tourist attraction, but it's good for Arkansas.

"If we have some other entertainment venues around the convention center, I think it would be a great state-of-the-art facility to have and host," said Jones.

Artex Electric co-owner David Peavy is one of several sub-contractors whose taken legal action to be compensated for a total of more than $300,000 worth of services.

"We went and filed a lien, which protects our rights, said Peavy. "We're not saying he's never going to pay, hopefully they'll be able to resolve whatever is going on."
 
While Peavy says the developer paid well throughout the project, he says 10% of the job is still owed to them.

The total unpaid bill for Artex electric is more than $99,000.
 
"That is a large amount of money, we don't have that money sitting around, we have to be paid so we can pay our people, our suppliers," said Peavy.

If they're not paid, he says contractors could technically remove their materials from the facility.

"It's not something we would ever want to do, we want the building to be there, we want it to be successful," explained Peavy. "We would also like to be paid for what we are doing."

Patel's attorney, Don Overton of Little Rock, has not returned our calls for comment.
    
Meanwhile, both the Arkansas Convention Center and Holiday Springs Water Park, also owned by the Patel family, have been the source of controversy over the past year.
    
Both businesses received large incentives from the city about $15 million.
    
Because that money was given and not loaned, the money will not be returned to the city.

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