Subcontractors Wait To Get Paid For Work Done On Mormon Temple
Posted February 27, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
APEX — Local contractors consider it a "David versus Goliath" fight as small businesses struggle to get paid by a big out-of-state general contractor. The source of the dispute is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' new temple in Apex.
The $5 million marble temple was built as a shining inspiration for Mormons in the Triangle, but for some of the subcontractors who built it, it has become one big hassle.
Ron Thoreson of American National Electric in Cary says the $280,000 he is owed from the project is five months past due.
There are other small companies that say their money is at least 30 to 60 days late.
Bill Brett of B&J Builders claims he is out more than $40,000 he needs to survive.
"I might have to go bankrupt. I'm not sure," Brett says. "I had to borrow money last week to make payroll."
Harold Jackson, a member of the church, says various construction work needs to be redone on the temple, but the financial dispute is totally in the hands of the general contractor, Walbridge Aldinger, in Detroit.
A spokesman from the company told WRAL that they do not make a habit out of hurting people. The company says it intends to pay the bills, but it still has issues to resolve.
"They haven't made a good faith effort to pay us, and it's not just our company," Thoreson says. "It's all the companies I talked to, so we're not going back there until they pay us something."
Another problem is the temple has been dedicated so no one except Mormons with special recommendations are allowed inside, which means the subcontractors cannot get in to make changes.
"We have hired an electrical contractor who is a member of the church who does have authority to come inside the building," Jackson says.
For the small businesses on the outside, they are still waiting for their money.
"You have to get paid," Thoreson says. "If you don't get paid, you don't last in business very long."
Thoreson says he is in the process of taking legal action against Walbridge Aldinger. Walbridge Aldinger representatives say they plan to have the matter resolved very soon.