By Jill Fox
Timely payment within the construction industry has become a big issue, and now Somerset Parkland Academy appears on the growing list of properties for owing thousands to various contractors since 2019.
“Over $1.5 million worth of unpaid bills need to be resolved,” said Michael Moskowitz, attorney for the school’s developer P & T Construction.
According to Moskowitz, Somerset Parkland Academy, registered under the name Parkland Academy LLC, owes money to his client, along with multiple subcontractors.
In one year, the school has legally been hit with 11 unpaid construction lien claims, some of which are still active.
As of January 20, Parkland Academy LLC owes $148,000 to Ryan Incorporated Southern for site development service, $70,000 to Suncor, Inc. for structural steel and metals, and $250,000 to Pinnacle Plumbing. Palm Beach Glass Specialties, Inc. has two liens against the school totaling over $60,000 for glass and glazing.
According to Levelset, a software business that helps contractors and suppliers get payment under control, only three out of every five contractors are paid in full, on every job.
Justin Gitelman, Content Partnerships Coordinator, said this is a big issue within the construction industry and often contractors aren’t aware of it.
“The first step towards improvement is knowing the problem, and we want to bring awareness and start discussions in the industry,” he said.
In this case, with bills outstanding for over 15 months, the contractors have yet to be paid in full and in a timely fashion.
Florida construction law gives mechanics lien rights to direct contractors, subcontractors, and other laborers when they perform work for the permanent benefit of land or real property. If the mechanic’s liens aren’t paid, the property can be foreclosed on. However, Moskowitz said he hopes this will be resolved soon.
Somerset Parkland Academy Principal Geyler Castro responded with the following statement.
“Somerset Parkland Academy does not owe and has never owed any funds to contractors for the building of the facility. Somerset understands that the owner of the facility paid its general contractor in full for the construction; however, the general contractor failed to pay certain subs and vendors. This has nothing to do with Somerset, nor are any liens the responsibility of Somerset. The comments to the contrary are erroneous to the extent that they suggest that Somerset is not paying amounts that it owes. The school is in very good fiscal condition, as is Somerset, and Somerset is confident that all issues will be resolved in due course.”
Construction on the Parkland charter school began in October 2019 after much controversy from the local community and approval by the city commission. Currently, 530 students from kindergarten through sixth grade are enrolled.
“We would like very much to get it resolved, but if it doesn’t, it will lead to litigation,” said Moskowitz. “We have had a good working relationship with the school for a long time, and our hope is that this gets worked out very shortly.
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