Auburn crane and rigging company sues Lewiston firm

AUBURN — A local crane and rigging company is suing a Lewiston paving contractor that recently shuttered its business for money owed for work done earlier this year, according to court files.

Cote Corp. says its crews performed work for RC & Sons Paving Inc. on two occasions in Augusta for which it was never paid the total of $29,990. An Androscoggin County Superior Court judge granted Cote's motion last week ordering an attachment of RC & Sons' assets in that amount because it is "more likely than not that in this action the plaintiff will recover judgment" for that amount and "there is a clear danger that (RC & Sons), if notified in advance of the attachment and trustee process, will sell real estate or conceal or remove the proceeds thereof or other goods and credits from the state."

Two invoices charging $18,670 and $11,320 dated March 31 and April 30, respectively, were sent to the Lewiston paving contractor. The terms on the invoices include late payment charges of 1 1/2 percent and 18 percent a year after that if not paid within 30 days. As of June 22, the total due, including interest, was $30,606.38, according to the company's civil complaint.

Cote is seeking to collect the more than $30,000 owed for services, plus interest, attorney's fees and expenses.

"Despite repeated demands, defendant refused and continues to refuse to pay said sum," the suit says.

Cote is suing for breach of contract among other counts.

This is the second suit filed against the Lewiston company recently in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

A Rhode Island company filed a civil complaint against the Lewiston paving company last month.

The asphault supplier wrote in its lawsuit that RC & Sons owed it more than $1.57 million and committed fraud, according to court records.

R.C. & Sons bought "very substantial quantities" of liquid asphalt from American Liquid Asphalts over the past couple of years, that suits says. The Lewiston company combined the liquid asphalt with other materials to make paving asphalt used in road, sidewalk and parking lot construction, attorneys for the Rhode Island company wrote.

American and R.C. & Sons had a contract legally binding the local company to receive shipments of liquid asphalt, the suit says. The Rhode Island company upheld its part of the agreement, while the Maine company didn't, according to the complaint.

R.C. & Sons failed to pay for roughly $1.57 million in liquid asphalt deliveries, the suit says. In May, R.C. & Sons wrote 13 checks to American, drawn on an account at Androscoggin Bank in Lewiston. Of those, nine "bounced" due to insufficient funds, the suit says.

The Rhode Island company didn't deposit the remaining four checks into its account at Bank of America. The 13 checks totaled $266,500, an amount that served as a false inducement for American to continue its deliveries to R.C. & Sons, the suit says.

The Rhode Island company said it plans to pursue criminal charges against the principals of the Maine company for the amount of the 13 checks, according to the suit.

More than a dozen displaced workers from the local company complained that RC & Sons had not paid them for wages due. Some of the former workers said they were concerned that the company withheld money for taxes and retirement, but may not have deposited that money with the respective agencies.

At about the same time, the Moose Creek Grille at 757 Main St., Lewiston, owned by the defendants, closed its doors.

Calls to the office at the paving company's office at 942 Main St. went unanswered Wednesday. The company had been in business for 36 years.

cwilliams@sunjournal.com

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Comments

RUSSELL DILLINGHAM's picture
staff

Shoe leather reporting

Hi Chris. I just wanted to comment about our reporting on this issue. We have a lot of information on what is going on, why and how it happened. However, we have not been able to get anybody to go on the record with what they have told us. Because of ongoing investigations, or people not wanting to make a public statement, we are left with no credible sources to back up what we have found. We can not publish speculation and innuendo that we have dug up. Without attribution, we would be remiss to publish what we are pretty confident is factual, but that would not be credible journalism. We have been working this story relentlessly since news broke of the demise of the business, but until we have factual information, we can not go to press with what we have learned so far. We are continuing our investigation, and will hopefully have something to publish in the coming days/weeks.

Chris Blake's picture

Thank you

Thank you very much for that thoughtful reply Russ. I really appreciate it. Maintaining high journalistic standards is just as important to me as finding out what's going on, so I fully understand not going to press with credible reporting. I'm not angry with you folks, it just gets frustrating when the line about calls not being returned appears so often. I'm sure it frustrates you as well, I just wanted to make it clear this is important news to a lot of people. It boggles a lot of people's minds that a local business can get so far over the edge without anyone noticing.

The SJ is still my primary source for local news, and I really hope a few more people are willing to go on the record about this soon.

Thank you again.

Chris Blake's picture

oops

That should read "without credible reporting"

Chris Blake's picture

More has to be discovered

This is a disgrace, and some of these many unanswered questions need to be answered soon. As time goes on, we're hearing things are worse than anyone thought there, and still not learning any more about who was responsible.

Whether it is the police tracking down the owner and serving a warrant, or the Sun Journal doing some actual shoe leather reporting on this one, people want to know. If the owners and managers are still in the state, someone has got to track them down and go to them instead of just ringing a phone that's never going to be answered.

There are families in this city owed money by these people. There are streets they were scheduled to pave this summer that have already been torn up. Someone somewhere knows something, and that information needs to get out.

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