At the East Hampton School Board meeting on Sept. 20, Kevin Seaman, the new attorney for the district, gave a quick surmise as to where the district stands in the long-running and money-consuming legal battle with Sandpebble Builders.
The firm initially sued the district, after its construction contract was canceled in favor of another builder, for $3.75 million. Over the past four years, both sides have fired accusations back and forth, and the attorneys’ bills have climbed. At last count, the district had spent more than $2.3 million on the case.
“But there’s one very significant question,” Mr. Seaman said, returning to a point that may have been initially overlooked. “Did Sandpebble file a notice of claim within the required three-month period? Did they bring a timely action?”
The Melville law firm of Pinks, Arbeit & Nemeth has replaced the firm previously employed to handle the lawsuit, which is now scheduled to be heard by an appellate court in Brooklyn at 10 a.m. on Oct. 17.
“The court will see if the [Sandpebble’s] motion can be reversed. If not, Sandpebble wins,” Mr. Seaman said.
“The court will have to determine when the starting date actually was,” he continued. “Was it when they [Sandpebble] knew they wouldn’t be paid, or when they were formally terminated?”
“If they lose this case, they’re going to have a tough time proceeding with the claim,” he said.
In a different but related matter, Mike Guido, the architect, is expected to attend the board meeting on Tuesday to discuss what has and has not been finished at the schools. That meeting will take place at the district office at 7:30 p.m.
“So the players are all going to sit down at a table and work it out until it’s finished, so we can close the bond issue?” asked Patricia Hope, a school board member.
Mr. Seaman assured Ms. Hope that that was the intention.