Contractor sues Lau Ola, Ha, claiming nonpayment

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald file photo Lau Ola CEO Richard Ha stands at the construction site in February of the future growing facility in Pepeekeo.

The contractor for a medical marijuana growing site under construction has filed a civil suit against the developer and operator of the facility project, claiming nonpayment for construction on the Pepeekeo site.

The application for a mechanic’s lien was filed April 18 in Hilo Circuit Court by Honolulu attorney Ryan K. Markham on behalf of ACS Construction LLC, a Honolulu firm owned by Dale A. Grover.

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The defendants are East Hawaii Re Holdings Limited Liability Co., Lau Ola LLC, Richard Ha Jr. and June Dale Ha.

The suit seeks payment of a principal amount of $338,539.50 plus interest, attorneys’ fees and costs.

A hearing on the lien application is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. June 13 before Judge Henry Nakamoto.

The filing claims that on June 22, 2017, EHRH, the project’s developer, entered into construction contract with ACS “to provide labor, materials, supplies, equipment and services for the development, renovation and/or improvement of the property for the project.” Pursuant to contract, ACS “furnished labor and materials … incorporated into the improvements on the property.”

Respondents “continue to fail and refuse to pay the aforesaid amount due,” the suit claims. The plaintiff “claims a lien on the fee-simple interest in the property, any interests of the respondents therein, and the improvements … in the amount of $338,539.50 … with interest, attorney’s fees and costs and other proper expenses and charges.”

The property referred to in the suit is a 40.2-acre agricultural-zoned lot in Pepeekeo owned by the Has. County tax records list the taxable value of the property and its buildings as $1,182,400.

Ha, Lau Ola’s chief executive officer, said Monday he hadn’t been served with the suit and court records on Tuesday showed no receipt of service by any of the defendants.

“There’s nothing really I can say about it because I don’t know what the details are,” Ha said.

Ha told the Tribune-Herald in February he hoped the structure would be completed by now and growing would start this month, but that timeline will now be pushed back. He said construction is still ongoing at the Pepeekeo site.

“We’re further along,” Ha said Monday. “The roof is on. The sides are on. They’re working on the interior. One of the issues is the county’s (building permit) system went down and it’s hard to say when they’re going to be back up. We’re hoping they get back up soon. There’s only a few that we’ve got left to do and we really don’t expect any problems. They’ve just got to get the system up so we can hook up to the process.”

Ha also has leased a future dispensary retail site on Kanoelehua Avenue.

“We’re moving along. We’re anxious. But it just takes the time it takes,” he said.

Markham said Monday he needed to confer with his client before speaking to the Tribune-Herald.

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He didn’t return a Tuesday phone call seeking comment by press time.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.