The Shreveport Aquarium recently found itself at the center of two lawsuits filed by a Shreveport electrical contractor and a construction company based out of Michigan over allegations that the aquarium has yet to pay them for completed work. The plaintiffs in the suit include Rimmer Electric and Weiland-Davco, and they decided to file their civil suits earlier this month after spending the year watching as several other “companies began filing liens against the aquarium for failing to pay bills for remodeling done before the aquarium opened.”
So far, Planet Aqua Group, the provate company that ownes and operates the Shreveport Aquarium, has declined to comment on the allegations. However, Jon Whitehead, the Planet Aqua Group co-founder, said the “company would be happy to issue a statement once the legal issues were resolved.”
So what happened, exactly? How much does the aquarium owe the two plaintiffs, Wieland-Davco and Rimmer Electric? For starters, according to the suit filed by Wieland-Davco back on October 1, the construction company was the “general contractor on the aquarium project and alleges that the Shreveport Aquarium owes $259,691 plus other unspecified damages for failure to pay and for breach of contract.”
According to the suit filed by Rimmer Electric on October 4 against Sgreveport Aquarium and Wieland-Davco, the Michigan-based construction company allegedly “failed and/or refused to enforce its contract with the Shreveport Aquarium because it did not collect funds owed by the aquarium.” According to Rimmer Electric, it was hired by Wieland to “complete some work at the aquarium and claims that Wieland owes it $59,009 plus other fees” in addition to the $154,500 Wieland has already paid it.
In it’s suit, Rimmer Electric is “assuming that the aquarium paid Wieland for the electrical work.” However, if Wieland hasn’t been paid for the work by the aquarium, Rimmer plans to “recover its funds directly from the aquarium under a lien it filed last year.”
In addition to the money it claims the construction company owes it, Rimmer Electric claims the Shreveport Aquarium “owes it $43,756 plus other fees under a different and direct contract” in addition to the $41,722 the aquarium has already paid the electric company.
These two recently filed civil suits come on the heels of several others filed against the aquarium by local companies that all claim the aquarium owes them money for completed work.
So how has the aquarium ended up with so many issues related to payment? Well, according to a spokesman for the aquarium, “construction costs exceeded estimates.” However, he did note that “Planet Aqua Group intended to settle the contractor liens.”
Construction on the Shreveport Aquarium began in January 2017. It opened its doors to customers the following November.