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DiPizio Construction closes, auctioning equipment

DiPizio Construction, which has battled in court for years over its removal from the Canalside ice rink project, has shut down and is selling off its equipment.

Alex Lyon and Son will auction the construction equipment starting at 9:30 a.m. Friday at 5690 Camp Road in Hamburg. The long list of items to be sold includes five hydraulic excavators, eight loaders, and a variety of trucks.

DiPizio Construction had a $19.8 million contract to build a skating rink and old-style canals on the former site of Memorial Auditorium. But in July 2013, its contract was terminated, and another contractor was brought in to finish the job.

Rosanne DiPizio, who worked with her father, Bernard, on the project, said the Cheektowaga company's removal from the Canalside job proved financially damaging. The termination triggered a legal battle that continues five years later.

DiPizio Construction alleges it was wrongfully removed from the job to make way for a politically connected contractor to take over. A lawsuit accused the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. of conspiring against DiPizio Construction.

State officials have denied those charges, contending DiPizio Construction was removed because it couldn't finish the project, and citing "deficient work" on the project.

Rosanne DiPizio remains furious about the removal and the fallout she said it has had on her father's business, which he launched in 1977. She said the company lost its bonding capacity, and the business had survived on family money the past few years.

"They forced my father into an ugly retirement, and they should pay for it," she said.

Meanwhile, the court battles continue. DiPizio is appealing a federal judge's decision to dismiss a suit. A separate suit in state court is scheduled to head to trial this fall.

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