China Construction America (CCA), the general contractor and construction manager for the more than $3.5 billion Baha Mar resort, called former developer Sarkis Izmirlian’s recent lawsuit against it a “vindictive and baseless attempt to redeem his own failures” to manage his companies and investment in the Cable Beach property.
In a statement, CCA said it remains proud of the world-class resort it constructed and by any objective measure, the resort is expected to have a substantial impact on The Bahamas and its citizens.
“The lawsuit filed by Mr. Izmirlian is a vindictive and baseless attempt to redeem his own failures to properly manage his companies and their investment in the Baha Mar resort project,” CCA said in a statement.
“Mr. Izmirlian’s scattershot allegations are totally false and constitute a gross abuse of the American judicial system.
“CCA Bahamas will vigorously defend these unfounded claims.”
The lawsuit filed by BML Properties Limited, owned by Izmirlian, against CCA alleging fraudulent activity during the construction of Baha Mar, outlines allegations that CCA deliberately reduced the number of workers on the Baha Mar project and that workers were employed without their work permits being renewed, among numerous other damning allegations.
However, the general
contractor said in stark contrast to the “outrageous claims” alleged in Tuesday’s court filings, CCA Bahamas’ projects are characterized by “excellence, superior quality and trustworthiness”.
“The company’s guiding principle is a respect for hard work and a commitment to collaborate with the communities in which it operates,” CCA said.
“This credo of the company certainly proved no more true than with respect to its tenacious commitment to complete the construction of Baha Mar, a luxury resort complex unrivaled in the western hemisphere.
“CCA Bahamas’ consistent goal is to help Bahamians build a more prosperous and vibrant country by constructing happy spaces for Bahamians and the millions of visitors to the islands.”
Issuing its own release yesterday, BML called CCA’s statement nothing more than public relations and a poor attempt at damage control.
“No matter what public relations press statements CCA issues to try to do damage control on its public image in this matter, the detailed 259-page lawsuit speaks for itself,” BML said in a statement.
“Leaving CCA’s attempted spin aside, the reality is CCA is a defendant in litigation charging it with massive fraud, admitted sabotage, malicious acts of deceit and interference, and breaches of contract.
“China Construction America now must answer for these wrongdoing in the courtroom.”
When the project was approved Baha Mar was cleared to have approvals for around 5,000 Chinese workers.
However, BML claims that CCA – which was allegedly responsible for bringing in the workers and securing their work permits – may have reduced the number of workers purposefully.
According to the court documents, CCA also allegedly allowed active work permits to expire and did not replace labor on the project after it was found that there were insufficient workers to keep the project on schedule.
The lawsuit further alleges that CCA “did not come close to having 3,400 workers on site by the end of 2013”, which BML suggests led to the project missing its opening date and experiencing structural problems as a result of the unskilled labor received.
Additionally, the court documents filed by BML’s lawyer Tuesday morning claimed that the PLP government knew of CCA’s move to “intentionally slow down work at the project and divert equipment and executive and labor effort to its newly purchased competing project just a few miles from the front door of Baha Mar”.
But PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell called Izmirlian’s actions against CCA negative fodder against The Bahamas and Baha Mar, though Baha Mar Limited nor its current owner Chow Tai Fook Enterprises is mentioned as a defendant in the case.
Mitchell also dismissed Izmirlian’s action as “an act of revenge”.