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Firm sues county over prison job; Seeking payment for design work

A Buffalo architectural and engineering firm claims it was never paid for design work it did for a project to upgrade the security system on the roof of the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden.

E.I. Team Inc. has filed a lawsuit against the county, alleging that county officials in 2009 expanded the scope of a roof project at the facility to include the security system but never compensated the company for the extra work.

"It is our position that the county used our plans and designs and specifications to complete the security system on the roof," said Jon F. Minear, an attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of E.I. Team.

The company, headed by chief executive Hormoz Mansouri, entered into a contract with the county in June 2009 for design work on a project to replace the roof. The contract, according to the lawsuit, did not include the roof security system in its scope of work.

The lawsuit claims that county officials, in October 2009, advised E.I. Team representatives that upgrading the roof security system was "paramount" and sought a proposal for the security system design work.

The company submitted a proposal and later prepared drawings, designs and specifications for the security system, according to the lawsuit.

County officials later advised the firm that it would not proceed with the security system work.

"We have not been compensated for that [design work] at this time," said Minear, an attorney with the law office of Ralph C. Lorigo.

According to county records, the Legislature in 2009 authorized a contract of up to $185,000 with E.I. Team to provide design and construction documents for the second phase of a roof replacement project, including security fencing and cameras, at the Correctional Facility.

Mark Cornell, director of policy and communications in the office of County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, said the County Attorney's Office had no comment on the lawsuit.