Humber Valley Paving subcontractors left in the lurch: Liberals

James McLeod
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Liberal Leader Dwight Ball says his party is getting calls from around a dozen contractors who say they’ve been put in a bind by the government’s decision to cancel a controversial paving contract linked to premier-designate Frank Coleman.

The Liberals say that with the cancellation of the road building contract, the only choice for companies dealing in good faith with Humber Valley Paving is to go to court.

“We’ve been in contact with quite a few subcontractors,” Ball said. “There’s about a dozen right now that we’ve been talking to, and varying amounts of money that’s outstanding on the project.”

Due to forest fires in Labrador last summer, Humber Valley Paving was unable to complete a contract to pave 80 kilometres of the Trans-Labrador Highway without losing money.

The company was owned partially by Coleman, who will take over as PC Party leader and become premier in July.

Around the same time that Coleman was getting into politics, his son, Gene Coleman, who was also on the Humber Valley Paving board of directors, negotiated directly with Transportation Minister Nick McGrath before the company was let out of the contract.

Premier Tom Marshall insists nothing untoward happened, but for the sake of public confidence has referred the whole affair to the auditor general to do an independent study and clear the air.

Ball said that by waiving two bonds worth $18 million and quietly cancelling the contract without telling anybody, suppliers to Humber Valley Paving won’t get paid.

The suppliers could’ve put a lien against the company, he said, and then they would have had recourse to get paid, but they didn’t know the contract was being cancelled.

Ball said sub-contractors were expecting to go back to work for Humber Valley Paving again this summer, so they didn’t put in a lien because they were operating in good faith.

McGrath said that if the companies didn’t put in a lien within 30 days of completing their work, they’re out of luck.

He said the Liberals are acting like his decision to let the company off the hook for the contract made a difference, but because the companies didn’t put in a lien within the 30 days, they wouldn’t have recourse regardless of whether the government chose to waive the company’s bonds.

McGrath said that as a former small business owner, he knows that going to court is tough, but he said that’s also a part of doing business.

Twitter: TelegramJames



Organizations: Humber Valley Paving, PC Party

Geographic location: Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Interested
    June 04, 2014 - 22:45

    I was wondering how long these forest fires closed the roads for? It can rain for two weeks straight and you are unable to pave. The fires must have closed roads for month or more to qualify as unnatural delay? I hear the same thing all the time fires but no one says how long they were?

  • Geoff
    May 15, 2014 - 11:23

    Im in agreement with Taxpayer, get Ches Crosbie on the go with a class action suit against HVP, and the Provincial Govt. These businesses will still have to pay their taxes to the gov wether they get paid for the work or not.

  • Taxpayer
    May 14, 2014 - 19:57

    As a business owner, most of us do not know the tendering contracts laws and regulations or what a mechanic's lien is, let alone knowing that it had to be placed within 30 days. When you constantly call a business that owe you money and they say you will be paid in 2 weeks, then we as NL usually take this in good faith. Now the time is passed and the damage is done to these businesses owed money by Humber Valley Paving and Frank Coleman while he was the owner. The business owed money directly related to this job should form a class action suit against all parties involved.

  • I guess
    May 14, 2014 - 09:51

    I guess the subcontractors are not politicians.

  • geoff
    May 14, 2014 - 07:29

    this article makes my blood boil. As a small business owner I know what its like to try to get paid sometimes. For mcgrath to make these statements after the Govt let HVP off the hook is nothing less than a slap in the face to all small business owners out there. The arrogance of this Govt is flabbergasting. If I really said whats going through my mind my comments wouldnt make it to print.