Subcontractor sues Naniloa’s general contractor, developer

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald The Mauna Loa Tower stands tall at the right Wednesday at the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo.

A subcontractor who worked on the Grand Naniloa Hotel construction project is suing the hotel, its developer and the project’s general contractor, claiming nonpayment of $754,000 for work it performed during the Banyan Drive property’s makeover.

The civil lawsuit was filed Jan. 16 in Hilo Circuit Court by Lincoln Builders LLC, a Honolulu construction firm.

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The defendants include WHR LLC, the hotel’s owner; Tower Development Inc., the managing partner of WHR LLC; several related entities under the Tower name; Tower Development CEO Edward Bushor, President Stuart Miller, Vice President Noel Ross and Secretary-Treasurer Lynn Bushor.

Also named as defendants are general contractor Tower Construction Hawaii Inc.; Aaron Molinar, president of Tower Construction and CEO of Molinar Construction, which is also named; Chris Molinar, vice president of Tower Construction Hawaii and president of Molinar Construction; and Mark Mansheim, vice president of Molinar Construction, which is located in San Diego.

The complaint accuses all defendants of breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, conversion, fraud, intentional interference with business relations, and unjust enrichment. Lincoln Builders is seeking compensatory and special damages, triple damages under Hawaii contract law, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and court costs.

According to the lawsuit, the original contract agreed to on Aug. 27, 2015, called for Lincoln Builders to be paid $460,000 for remodeling work to rooms in the hotel’s Mauna Loa Tower. The original job was “augmented with additional work described in verbal and written change orders,” which “provided for payment of additional monies to plaintiff.”

The suit claims change orders brought the final total of work performed by Lincoln Builders to $754,000.

The suit claims defendants “had no intention of paying plaintiff for all of the services, labor, equipment and materials it provided” and falsely asserted “their intent of fulfilling their contractual duties, in order to induce plaintiff to provide services, labor, equipment and materials … for which defendants knew they would not pay.”

The complaint also alleges the defendants hired or attempted to hire Lincoln Builders’ laborers and independent contractors by “falsely advising the independent contractors and/or laborers that they would not continue to have secure jobs unless they breached their obligations to plaintiff and began working directly with defendants.”

Also claimed is the defendants “failed to provide accurate plans and specifications for the work to be performed under the subcontractor agreement” and that Lincoln was “provided … with defective plans and specifications.”

In addition, the lawsuit claims the defendants delayed required inspections and “removed materials necessary for the completion of plaintiff’s work.”

Lincoln Builders also has a mechanic’s lien pending against WHR LLC, Tower Construction Hawaii Inc., Tower Development, Tower Hotels Hilo LLC, Tower Hotels LLC and Molinar Construction. According to court records, trial is set in that case at 8 a.m. May 25 before Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto.

Bushor said in a Wednesday text message the hotel and Tower Development “have no ownership of Tower Construction entity,” and that he had “no contract or ever had dealings with” Lincoln Builders.

Bushor said there is “no basis” for the suit against the him, the hotel or Tower Development, and referred questions to Aaron Molinar, who didn’t return a phone call by press time.

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Sheri Tanaka, Lincoln Builders’ attorney, also didn’t return a call seeking comment.

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

  1. Poi January 25, 2018 3:11 pm

    …and of course you got that change order in writing?


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