On the eve of a meeting where Nevada's governor hopes to mediate a feud between the developer of the $8.5 billion CityCenter and the project's general contractor, homeowners at the luxury high-rise One Queensridge Place have questioned the merits of Perini Building Co.
In nearly 20 identical letters sent Thursday to Gov. Jim Gibbons, One Queensridge condominium owners said Perini, which has recorded a $490 million lien on CityCenter's property and filed a lawsuit seeking payment, is trying to force them to pay contested building costs using the same tactics being employed against MGM Mirage.
Homeowners said in the letter that "they felt compelled to write to you to explain out perspective on Perini. We have been working with the developer in an attempt to resolve disputes that arose during construction, and we can tell you that in our experience, Perini is a very different company than the one it portrayed itself ... to you."
The condominium owners said Perini destroyed records from the construction of One Queensridge Place, even after being told by a Clark County District Court judge to preserve the documents.
"Perini now seeks to foreclose on units sold to homeowners such as us in order to recover its claims against the developer," the letters stated. "Perini has taken the position that homeowners have no right to present a defense to court hearing the foreclosure action."
Gibbons will meet this morning starting at 9 in his Las Vegas offices with Perini executives and representatives of subcontractors who worked on the CityCenter project.
Perini asked the governor to intervene in the dispute, sending a nine-page letter to his office on May 4. The letter was printed as a two-page ad in the Review-Journal on May 9 and Perini began an Internet and media campaign to force MGM Mirage's hand.
In a statement, Perini asked that either MGM Mirage Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren or CityCenter Chief Executive Officer Bobby Baldwin attend the meeting.
"We are directing this invitation specifically to Mr. Murren and Mr. Baldwin so that they not be able avoid their responsibility to look Perini and the subcontractors directly in the eye and explain why MGM Mirage has not yet paid for the work performed on time and as promised," Perini CEO Ron Tutor said in a statement.
MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said company officials would not attend.
"We're happy to answer any questions that the governor or his staff might have after the meeting," Feldman said.
MGM Mirage filed a counterclaim in Clark County District Court last week, saying that it had taken steps to begin paying some 600 subcontractors who worked on CityCenter and are not caught in the middle of the legal skirmish between the casino operator and Perini.
MGM Mirage said Perini breached its construction agreement with the company and owes the casino operator millions of dollars because of mismanagement and defective construction work.
"We're already scheduling meetings with subcontractors and we have literally dozens of forensic accountants trying to make headway through the tens of thousands of pieces of paper in Perini's confusing and disorganized billing," Feldman said.
It was unclear what outcome, if any, would come from the meeting between Gibbons and the contractors.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at email@example.com or 702-477-3871.