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State Supreme Court rules against former Canalside construction company

The State Supreme Court on Friday reversed a legal win for DiPizio Construction Co. – the business that had been removed from the Canalside project at the former Memorial Auditorium site last year.

In November, the State Supreme Court ruled that DiPizio’s plans to dispose of contaminated soil as well as its substitution of a certain type of granite to be used in the project met the terms of the company’s contract with Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

However, The appellate court reversed that decision, ruling that the development agency had the right to reject the substituted granite and that DiPizio’s plan to dispose of the soil did not meet the terms of the contract.

The decision means DiPizio cannot seek to recoup costs for the granite and disposal incurred after being dismissed from the project.

DiPizio said the latest development will not impact the bulk of its lawsuit against the development agency, alleging the company was wrongfully terminated from the project.

DiPizio maintains it has been made a scapegoat for project delays caused by design errors and changes made by the development agency’s design and engineering teams.

“The general contractor can only build to a project’s specifications,” said Michael Ferdman, an attorney for DiPizio. “It’s not unusual that there are changes on a construction project. But what is unusual in this case is the ECHDC wouldn’t admit there were design errors and design changes.”

Under normal circumstances, Ferdman said, the contract period would have been extended to accommodate the design errors and changes.

“Instead, they used DiPizio as a scapegoat to explain to the public why the project was delayed,” Ferdman said.

Once finished, the inner harbor project will have pedestrian bridges as well as historically aligned canals that will serve as skating rinks in winter and reflecting pools the rest of the year.

Development agency officials could not be reached to comment Saturday.