North Country
7:59 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Berlin Biomass Contractor Accused Of Fraud

The company in charge of building a huge biomass plant in Berlin is suing one of its contractors claiming fraud.

But a spokesman for the plant’s owner - Berlin Station - says it should still open late this year, right on schedule.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen has this report.

The suit was filed in federal district court in New York by Babcock & Wilcox Construction Company.

That’s the Ohio firm in charge of building the Burgess BioPower plant in Berlin that will burn low-grade wood to produce electricity.

The plant is expected to have about forty employees when it opens and supplying wood will provide work for many others.

Construction began in October 2011 and hundreds of workers have been busy on the $275 million project.

By the time it opens late this year it will have been four years since state officials first considered the project.

In this latest issue the lawsuit accuses a contractor, Francis Harvey and Sons Inc. of Worchester, Massachusetts, of fraud.

The contractor was hired in 2011 to do demolition and clean up work on the site.

But the suit claims Harvey and Sons committed fraud ranging from double billing to submitting some bills for work that was not done.

In addition the suit claims Harvey and Sons was not always paying the companies it hired to work on the project.

Harvey and Sons was fired in 2012.

Babcock & Wilcox is seeking $5 million, legal fees and undetermined punitive damages.

Harvey and Sons has not yet filed a response with the court.

A call by NHPR to the office was not returned.

For NHPR this is Chris Jensen