NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Several small businesses are owed tens of thousands of dollars after construction at three Fort Worth ISD schools.
A Mansfield electrician says he spent 18 months waiting to get paid for his work — then he called Cristin Severance for Consumer Justice. Bobby Tutor owns Tutor Electric, one of the companies hired to do upgrades at Atwood, Green and Moss elementary schools during the summer of 2016.
The general contractor, Big Sky Construction, paid Tutor 90 percent of the invoice. Tutor says his workers moved quickly to get everything done before school resumed in the fall.
“The jobs were extremely fast-paced — a lot to do in a short period of time.” When the work was finished, Tutor expected to be paid the last 10 percent, called a retainage fee. Months passed with no sign of the $35,000. Tutor says he spent much of 2017 going back and forth with Big Sky, who blamed FWISD for the delays in payment. After Tutor called CBS 11 News, we went to FWISD officials for an explanation.
“We would love to pay the subcontractors,” said Clint Bond, FWISD spokesperson. “We would love for them to have their money but our agreement is with the general contractor and not with the subs.” The district owes Big Sky $368,000 in residual payments but Bond says that’s because the contractor hasn’t finished the job. “Just as if you were buying a house and you went through and saw things that still needed to be done,” said Bond. “You wouldn’t pay until all of that was done so that’s exactly what we’re asking.”
The day after we called Big Sky, Tutor got a call to come pick up his final payment. The owner of Big Sky, Bob Long, says he regrets the delay.
“This should have never never never taken this long for this to be completed,” said Long. “There was so much transitioning between the owner, the architect and the project manager and myself… that those few items just didn’t get done.”
A few weeks after Tutor called Consumer Justice, Big Sky completed the work at the schools.