New York Wheel Developer Files Another Suit Against Contractor

A rendering of the Staten Island Wheel (rendering via Perkins Eastman)

When it comes to the Staten Island Ferris Wheel, the only things going around these days is filing lawsuits.

The developer of the failed project, known as the New York Wheel Owner, filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court this week alleging the project’s contractors were responsible for the wheel’s demise two years ago.

It is the latest in a series of litigation related to the project that has accumulated due to disputes where the court has the right to hear the various complaints.

The developer first filed a lawsuit against the contractors in the federal court in 2017. That lawsuit was dismissed in 2018 and resumed a plaintiff a year later with the project’s fundraiser, an EB-5 regional center called CanAm Enterprises.

However, in October the developer and the contractor wrote a letter to the court claiming there was a “misconduct” and the case should never have been brought to a district court. The “defect” came from two minority investors from Florida and California, where the contractors for the project were also located.

It’s getting more confusing: Last month, CanAm Enterprises filed its own lawsuit against the contractor in federal court without the New York Wheel Owner being a co-plaintiff. On the same day, one of the project’s contractors, Mammoet, filed a lawsuit against CanAm and the developer with the New York State Supreme Court to move the entire dispute to a new location.

While the jurisdiction issue does matter, the lawsuits also provide very different accounts of what went wrong with the New York Wheel project. In its latest lawsuit, the developer alleges that the project’s contractors, Mammoet and Starneth (the latter of which are not party to either litigation), underestimated how much it would cost to build the bike. Realizing they were losing money, the contractors increased fixed costs instead, according to the complaint.

Mammoet claims in its most recent lawsuit that the developer breached its contract and failed to pay for the work it had done since November 2016. Ultimately, this caused the contractors to leave the project.

Mammoet and New York Wheel Owner lawyers did not immediately return a request for comment.

Contact Keith Larsen

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