State St. Baptist Rebuilding Snagged by Lawsuit

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Though work on the rebuilding of State St. Baptist Church is near completion, the legal wrangling over payment for the project has just begun.

The church's 100-year-old sanctuary was destroyed by fire on May 4, 2000. Glasgow-based contracting firm Alliance Corporation was hired to rebuild the church at a cost of more than $2 million. The church rededicated their new facility this August, but has been embroiled in heated negotiations with Alliance over whether or not the project is complete, and how much the church owes. Now, Alliance is suing the church, claiming it is owed the full sum of the construction contract.

Church officials say several hundred thousand dollars worth of additional expenses were incurred because of an elevation error made by the contractors. Alliance corporation acknowledged in a written statement that it will not charge the church for any expenses incurred because of the mistake, and says it has upheld that promise. But church officials say they are being asked to pay for items that are directly related to the elevation error, and want such items removed from their bill.

Church officials also say there are more than 100 items on a "punch list" still to be completed by the contractor, while Alliance says they have finished the project. Earlier attempts at mediation have failed, but both sides say they still hope to resolve the dispute before a potential trial reaches a judge and jury.