Skky Hotel owner Frank Calandra is being taken to court by a former electrical contractor who claims the Toronto lawyer failed to pay him more than $114,000.
In rebuttal, Calandra asserts he owes Independent Electric and Controls Ltd. nothing, and that the company hired apprentices who were paid senior wages and did poor work that needed constant do-overs.
The falling-out is complicated by the fact Independent’s former foreman at the site, Dean Omilon, quit the company in the summer of 2008 to start his own electric service to work for Calandra.
Omilon wrote the timesheets, monitored the supplies used and oversaw the work on a day-to-day basis. Court documents reveal that Omilon was hesitant to testify against Calandra because he was afraid he and his company, Deano’s Electric Service, wouldn’t get paid.
While Omilon worked for him independently, the electrician admitted his old company worked unprofessionally, Calandra said in court documents.
Both sides give vastly differing accounts, and key documents, such as invoices and timesheets, weren’t available in the court file by press time.
The court date was set for October 26 during an in-camera case-management session Thursday morning between Calandra, Independent’s lawyer and a judge.
Independent’s version goes like this:
In October 2007, it was hired by Stacroz Investments, Calandra’s company, to wire 29 rooms at the Skky Hotel. It provided an estimate of $33,332 for the job.
By late January 2008, Independent invoiced Stacroz for 60 per cent of the work. The rest had to wait until other contracting jobs, such as painting, were finished.
In the meantime, Independent did some extra jobs on the Skky Hotel, including installing new lighting and rerouting phone and internet wires.
Its bill jumped to $212,416, and Independent claims it has only been paid $70,000 so far. Independent alleges Calandra either refused or avoided paying, and the company stopped working on the site in early July 2008.
Calandra can agree on the $70,000 figure, but nothing else.
Independent tried to price gouge his business more than once, and the original $33,332 invoice was a revision pared down from an inflated $50,000 estimate that Independent had submitted earlier, said Calandra in his rebuttal.
The additional work Independent did was rewiring three suites, which came to a total of around $6,000. At that point, Independent had done $40,000 of work and Calandra paid him $70,000.
Why? The extra $30,000 was a payment in good faith to do a few extras, such as installing a fire alarm, says Calandra.
But things began to unravel from there.
Independent’s work was of “an unprofessional and/or unworkmanlike quality” and multiple jobs had to be redone, which resulted in double-billing, said Calandra.
Also, irregularities in the timesheets “bordered on the fraudulent,” said Calandra.
Then Omilon enters the mix.
Independent’s foreman on the site was so shocked by the poor work being done under him that he quit the company in disgust, Calandra said.
Omilon then set up his company in July 2008 to do electrical work on the hotel.
Independent’s legal assistant met with Omilon on March 17 to discuss what happened in the brouhaha, and her notes reveal Omilon was caught in a jam between his former employer and his current client.
Both Independent and Calandra are “crazy” and “bickering,” Omilon told the legal assistant, according to her notes. Omilon didn’t want to compromise the chances of getting paid, say the notes, even if Independent has a valid claim.
Even if Omilon were subpoenaed, he would just say he can’t recall, wrote the legal assistant.
Both sides have accused the other of not providing key documents, from hotel design drawings to worksheets, and Independent has even questioned the validity of some faxes, submitted by Calandra with Independent’s heading on the top, that list job estimates for the hotel. One fax claims it took 107 hours to install three cameras, at $60 an hour.
The faxes even include the names of which workers did which specific job.
In e-mails between lawyers, Independent says it doesn’t have the documents listing its own work, which may have been kept by Omilon.
Contact James Munson at email@example.com.