Update (includes statement from the Trump Organization):
WASHINGTON (AP) — An electrical contractor who worked on the Trump International Hotel in Washington has sued a company owned by President Donald Trump for more than $2 million, alleging it was not fully paid.
AES Electrical of Laurel, Maryland, also known as Freestate Electrical, filed suit Jan. 19 in District of Columbia Superior Court, the latest in a string of lawsuits involving Trump’s renovation of the historic Old Post Office building a few blocks from the White House.
AES/Freestate alleges it bore increased expenses because of change orders and other demands from Trump’s staff. AES/Freestate claims it was told to accelerate the pace of work so that the then-Republican presidential candidate could hold a televised media event to celebrate the “soft opening” of the $200 million project before the November election.
The complaint was first reported by Politico.
A statement issued by the Trump Organization said that such business disputes are not uncommon during the close-out phase of construction projects of the scale and complexity of the project.
“The Trump Organization has invested over $200 million into the redevelopment of the historic Old Post Office and is incredibly proud of what is now considered to be one the most iconic hotels anywhere in the country,” the statement said.
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In part, the lawsuit claims:
“Freestate remains unpaid for electrical work performed and labor, material and service provided on the project, in the amount of $2,075,731.61. The total amount due consists of the following components: (1) $388,817.98 in unpaid retainage on work performed; (2) $37,636.63 in unpaid progress billings for base contract and approved change work performed; and (3) $1,649,277.00 in unpaid change work performed for which Trump has refused to approve, by way of a change order, and has refused to pay.”
“Freestate incurred the majority of the change work costs because of Trump’s directives, delivered through Lend Lease, to accelerate work and to perform extra work on the project in order to permit the ‘soft opening’ of the Trump Hotel by September 12, 2016, due to the fact that Trump had booked paid events and had planned for the use of hotel rooms on or about that date. Before this could happen, Freestate’s electrical work and fire alarm work had to be completed, inspected and approved by DC code officials.”
“Acceleration of Freestate’s work required Freestate’s crews to work nonstop, seven days per week, 10 to 14 hours per day, for nearly 50 consecutive days, prior to the ‘soft opening’, at significant additional cost and expense for which Freestate expected payment.”
Freestate filed the lawsuit on January 19, 2017, one day before President Trump was inaugurated. The President said he would remove himself from his business practices after being sworn in and leave the businesses in the control of his two sons.
At the Trump event on September 12, the first thing President Trump tells the crowd is, “Nice hotel. Under budget and ahead of schedule.” You can see his speech below, and he addresses the crowd at 6:38.
Here is a link to the full lawsuit filed by Freestate: