Local contractors sue for pay

It continues, "The current economic climate, particularly in the capital markets, has not allowed the quick resolution that we all desire to achieve. However, we do believe that a successful compromise with our lenders is in sight, which will allow us to honor our obligations to our contractors as well as complete the redevelopment."

Pritchard did say that WP was "working hard to resolve" the issue and that "We're working with our lender and doing the best that we can."

While Price Chopper is named in the suit, Kronau's attorney, Walter Breakell, of the Breakell Law Firm in Albany, said the supermarket is namely mentioned in the suit because it claims a leasehold interest in the property that is owned by WP and in the suit.

"Price Chopper has been named because they have a lease on the property which is being foreclosed upon in the suit," said Breakell. "Their interest is in continuing to lease the land."

As Breakell explained, if the land is foreclosed and then sold, technically Price Chopper could be forced out of its new store.

When asked whether he was expecting the lawsuit, President and CEO of Price Chopper Neil Golub said, "Anybody can name anybody in a lawsuit. We are the tenants of the landlord. The rightful direction of the lawsuit is against the landlord."

Golub said Price Chopper has tried to negotiate with WP Realty to help the contractors receive their pay, but that Price Chopper received the same response WP Realty was giving the contractors as to why they were not paying them: the bank was not giving them the money to pay the contractors.

Golub also said that by picketing, the contractors are "biting the hand that feeds them," after Price Chopper had agreed to separately contract with the workers to complete the store by June 1 for an additional amount of around $320,000, which was paid to the workers last week.

"If they had worked with us, maybe we would have taken another step to help them," said Golub. "But how can you, in all good fairness, justify [picketing?] For them to picket us, it's a little like spitting in our eye even after we helped them."

Kronau said he and the other contractors would continue to picket until either they received their money from WP Realty, or could not afford to picket anymore. Breakell said no court date has been set for this case.


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