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October 14, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Rye Brook couple sues architects for lack of oversight on home renovation

A Rye Brook couple is suing an architectural firm over claims that it inadequately supervised a contractor who used unlicensed subcontractors and eventually abandoned a home renovation project.

Jonathan and Helene Rod sued Keller/Eaton Architects PC of Mamaroneck and architect Robert Keller on Sept. 18 in Westchester Supreme Court.

A year ago, the Rods hired Noonan Construction Corp. of Yonkers for a home improvement project. They had already hired Keller/Eaton to oversee construction.

The complaint does not disclose the scope and price of the project.

The 4,496-square-foot house on Lincoln Avenue has six bedrooms and five baths, according to Zillow, and was built in 1997 on a 1.1-acre lot.

The Rods bought the property for $1.9 million in 2002, according to a county property record.

Keller/Eaton allegedly told the Rods and put in writing that Noonan had failed to supply enough skilled workers or proper materials and was using unlicensed subcontractors.

When the Rods learned of the unlicensed subcontracts in January, the complaint states, they demanded that Keller have them removed from the job site.

Keller/Eaton allegedly encouraged the Rods to permit the subcontractors to continue working and said he was unaware of a requirement that they be licensed.

At some point, “Noonan Construction walked off the project,” the complaint states, “after having failed to achieve substantial completion.”

How much work was left and how much money had been paid for the job are not disclosed in the lawsuit.

On July 29, the Rods, who are lawyers, prepared a termination notice against Noonan for alleged violations of their contract and project plans. Under the contract, the architect must certify sufficient cause to justify termination.

Then the Rods could give Noonan seven days notice, terminate the deal, take possession of the worksite and get the job finished by other means. Until the work was done, according to the complaint, Noonan would not be entitled to any payments.

But Keller/Eaton, the complaint states, refused to certify the termination notice.

The complaint does not say if any reason was given for the refusal, and Keller/Eaton and his firm did not immediately respond to a request for their side of the story.

The Rods are asking the court to compel Keller and his firm to certify the termination notice. They also are asking for unspecified damages.

The couple is represented by White Plains attorney Andrew P. Tureaud.