Town sues turf company for $3M

Westfield is seeking $3 million from an Illinois-based Field Turf contractor and its bonding company, arguing work completed at Grand Park was poor and wasn’t finished on schedule.

The lawsuit, originally filed in Hamilton Superior Court and recently transferred to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, argues that Turf Solutions Group LLC committed a breach of contract and was negligent while under contract with Westfield.

In April 2013, the city signed a $2.7 million contract with Turf Solutions to prepare, drain and grade the athletic fields at the 400-acre youth sports complex that has 31 soccer fields and 26 baseball and softball diamonds.

By November 2013, the lawsuit said, the city approached Turf Solutions about its poor performance and delays. The company then  assured the city that work would be completed by February 2014. The park was scheduled to open by April 2014.

“Throughout the course of its work on the project, TSG operated behind schedule and often suffered from manpower shortages. Further, issues began to arise with the quality of the work being performed,” Westfield’s lawsuit says.

One month later, the city determined the new schedule wouldn’t be feasible, according to court documents. In January 2014, Turf Solutions provided an updated completion date of March 15, 2014.

Turf Solutions “failed to make the promised progress and its work failed to meet the standards and specifications in the agreement,” the complaint states.

Westfield ended its contract with Turf Solutions verbally on March 14, 2014 and sent a letter terminating the agreement on March 18, 2014. At that time, none of the athletic fields were considered to be in playable conditions, according to court documents.

The issue first became public in August 2014 when Westfield Mayor Andy Cook requested an additional $6 million from the city council to pay for Grand Park expenses that had run over budget. The contract dispute accounted for $3 million of the extra costs.

Cook refused to name the contractor involved at that time, but said the company couldn’t finish its portions of the work in time for the fields to open in the spring.

The fields had already been reserved for tournaments, so the city had to hire a replacement company to finish the work, which drove up the costs.

Cook said at that time the city would try to recover as much of the costs as possible. But the city didn’t file a lawsuit until less than two months ago in Hamilton Superior Court. The case was transferred to federal court last week.

Oklahoma-based Granite RE Inc., the surety bond company for Turf Solutions, is also named in the lawsuit. Neither company has responded to the complaint, and attorneys for the companies have requested until Oct. 1 to do so.