A sizable proportion of the $800,000 sale price for the historic Frontier House ended up being paid to EI Team, an Amherst architectural and engineering firm, and its president, Hormoz Mansouri.
Public records show that between late 2018 and last week, Mansouri and his company filed six mechanics' liens against companies owned by former Frontier House owner Richard A. Hastings.
The liens claimed that Hastings didn't pay for a total of $611,657 worth of services from EI Team dating back more than a decade.
Three of the liens cited work on the Frontier House, a 195-year-old vacant onetime Lewiston hotel listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The others were for work on three Hastings-owned buildings on Main Street in Niagara Falls.
All six were marked by the Niagara County Clerk's Office as having been satisfied Tuesday, the day Hastings sold the Frontier House for $800,000 to 4600 Group LLC, owned by William A. Paladino, CEO of Ellicott Development Co. of Buffalo, and members of the Williams family of Lewiston.
Damon A. DeCastro, Hastings' attorney, said Hastings settled the liens by paying Mansouri's company $290,000 out of the Frontier House purchase price.
"We claimed we paid a lot more than we owed, and he claimed he took a lot less than he was owed," DeCastro said.
Mansouri, who was present for Tuesday's real estate closing in Lockport, contended Wednesday that Hastings paid about 30 cents on the dollar for EI Team's Frontier House work.
"There are other projects that I have worked on for Mr. Hastings, and he decided to resolve all of those mechanical liens under the Frontier House (transaction)," Mansouri said.
Asked to confirm the $290,000 figure, Mansouri said, " Mr. DeCastro should know better than to make a comment like that. The answer is, no comment."
Jeffrey Williams of Lewiston, who now owns 25 percent of the Frontier House, said the need to settle Mansouri's liens delayed completion of the sale, but didn't affect the price the buyers paid.
Public records also show that the majority of 4600 Group's purchase price came from a $500,000 mortgage on the Frontier House, held by William J. Game of Lewiston. With his brother Paul, Game has developed the Gardens at Oxbow, a 23-home subdivision in the northeast corner of the village.
Game said the mortgage terms allow him to take an equity stake in 4600 Group after one year.
By then, "I'll have a better idea on how we're coming along. I have a lot of faith in the Paladinos. They do a lot of developing and they do it right," Game said.
Game said the choice of a new use for the building remains "up in the air." Paladino did not return a call seeking comment.