Fourteen Alabama building contractors have gone to court to force payment of millions they say is owed for work done on Hyundai Motor Co.'s new plant in Montgomery, Ala.
The construction work is finished. Hyundai's first U.S. assembly plant is scheduled to begin producing Sonata sedans and Santa Fe SUVs next spring. But slow payment has several Alabama contractors up in arms, says Winston Edwards, a lawyer for one of the companies.
"I think Hyundai came in here thinking they could get work done and not pay for it," Edwards said. "Well, welcome to tort hell."
The 14 companies have filed liens against the project in probate court in Montgomery, according to lawyers for some of the contractors. Most of the complaints stem from work done for the plant's paint shop operator, Durr AG of Stuttgart.
Edwards says his client, MR&D LLC of Montgomery, is owed $375,000 for work on Hyundai's paint shop.
Hyundai says the problems don't threaten production, which begins March 1.
The project called for Hyundai to pay Durr for its construction work. Durr was to pay major subcontractors, which in turn were to pay smaller subcontractors. One major subcontractor, Suitt Construction Co. of Greenville, S.C., is in arbitration to recover
$7.2 million it claims Durr was supposed to pay on behalf of Hyundai.
Suitt Construction claims the project was pushed over budget by Durr's failure to follow the construction schedule. Durr declined to say whether it has been paid by Hyundai.