Central Park contractor fired due to ‘lack of performance’

SIGNAL FILE PHOTO: Equipment sits idle at the site of the Central Park expansion project. April 8, 2022. Dan Watson/The Signal

The contractor overseeing the near $11 million expansion effort at Central Park was fired earlier this year by the city of Santa Clarita due to a “lack of performance,” city officials said on Wednesday.  

However, it appears the city of Santa Clarita is not alone in alleging that Spectrum Construction Group Inc., the contractor hired for the Central Park Project, fails to follow through on promises they’ve made.  

In case documents retrieved by The Signal, the Irvine-based Spectrum Construction Group is being sued by its workers’ labor union in federal court on the allegation that the construction company failed to properly pay full compensation for the staff between August 2019 and March 2022 on several projects, including the Central Park expansion.  

On the Santa Clarita contract alone, a handful of union laborers allege they spent more than 1,000 hours total working on the Central Park Project between January and March of this year. Nonetheless, the work was not fully paid for by the construction company and their employees’ labor union now seeks to recover $25,419 they say Spectrum Construction still owes on the local project to cover employee benefits.  

As it currently stands, no new construction company has been hired to finish the expansion project and many of the new amenities set to be included in the expansion lie unfinished.   

Officials from Spectrum Construction Inc. could not be reached for comment as of the publication of this story.  

SIGNAL FILE PHOTO: Equipment sits idle at the site of the Central Park expansion project. April 8, 2022. Dan Watson/The Signal

Central Park  

Two years after the design process began, the Santa Clarita City Council awarded Spectrum Construction Inc. a contract that was not to exceed $10,747,788 for the expansion of Central Park. The sum was set to be paid out largely through funds received by the city through federal COVID-19 relief programs. 

According to the Sept. 28 council meeting agenda, the contract stipulated the construction of four additional multipurpose fields, enhancements to the current dog park, a new restroom facility, upgrades to the walking path and the addition of exercise stairs.  

Among a pool of seven competitive bids for the contract, Spectrum came in at the lowest amount, and was selected after staff had reviewed the contractor’s bid for “accuracy and conformance to the contract documents,” the agenda reads.  

In December, a groundbreaking event, attended by members of the City Council as well as other dignitaries and city staff, was held and construction began soon after in January.  

However, according to Carrie Lujan, a spokeswoman for the city, the contract with Spectrum Construction Group was terminated less than five months later due to a “lack of performance” on the part of the construction company.  

“At the time the contract was terminated, Spectrum had completed approximately 8% of their contractual obligations.”  

Lujan said that while the city usually makes monthly payments on construction contracts based on the amount of work performed each month, no advance payments were made on this particular contract.   

Based on the court documents obtained by The Signal, it would appear that little to no work has been done at the expansion site since April. However, since cancelling the contract in May, city staff have been working with the contractor’s surety company to select a replacement contractor to complete the original scope of work, according to Lujan.  

“Any costs associated with delays resulting from the termination of the contract will be the responsibility of the surety company,” said Lujan. “Their bond is in place to make sure the city is made whole in situations like this.”   

“We are hopeful to resume construction in the next few months,” Lujan said on Wednesday, adding that the scope of the project remains unchanged despite the delay and future transition to a new contractor. She later added: “We are excited to deliver this project to the community to enhance the recreational experiences for our residents.” 

SIGNAL FILE PHOTO: Equipment sits idle at the site of the Central Park expansion project. April 8, 2022. Dan Watson/The Signal

Spectrum Construction Inc.  

As of the publication of this story, Spectrum Construction Inc. officials could not be reached by The Signal. In addition to the phone numbers listed online for the Irvine-based company returning as disconnected, the company’s website appears to have also been taken down. 

But despite the near-disappearance of the company’s public presence, the lawsuit filed against Spectrum Construction Group by its laborers on the Central Park project — as well other public works projects — marches on.   

As recently as Wednesday, documents were being filed in federal court regarding the labor union’s lawsuit against the Spectrum Construction Group, as well as a handful of other defendants, seeking nearly $1 million in damages for work that the plaintiffs allege was not paid in full by Spectrum Construction Group over the last three years.  

In addition to the Central Park project, workers were also not paid their full compensation on a pavement project in Moreno Valley and a Caltrans project in Santa Barbara County, according to the lawsuit. 

Spectrum Construction Inc., according to their still publicly viewable LinkedIn page, was founded in 2016 and “specializes in fast-track project completion.” 

Although the company previously worked with other government agencies over the last half-decade, Lujan said this was the first construction project on which the city of Santa Clarita had worked with Spectrum Construction Group.  

The law firm representing the plaintiffs in the labor union lawsuit could not be reached as of the publication of this story.   

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