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Dec 6, 2017 10:30 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Former Southampton Village Ambulance Barn Architect Files Lawsuit Against The Village

Southampton Village architect Ric Stott filed a lawsuit agains the Village of Southampton on Tuesday, claiming he was not paid for his work in designing an ambulance barn in 2016. GREG WEHNER
Dec 8, 2017 11:37 AM

A Southampton Village-based architect on Monday said he is being forced into taking legal action against the village after he was never paid for his work in designing a now-defunct plan for a new ambulance barn on Windmill Lane.

Ric Stott, who has been an architect for 30 years, with an office just a couple of doors down from Village Hall for the past 22 years, filed a lawsuit against the village on Tuesday, seeking nearly $200,000 he says he is owed.

According to Mr. Stott, he was not paid for plans he designed for a new ambulance barn for Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance, work completed in 2015 and 2016 under contract. The original plans were for the ambulance barn to be constructed between the Southampton Village Police station and Lola Prentice Park on Windmill Lane.

Though a few neighbors raised concerns about the location of the ambulance barn, the Village Planning Board approved the plans for the $5.5 million structure in October 2016, and the project was put out to bid.

Those bids came in too high, however, and the village hit the brakes on the project. Mr. Stott said he then decided to voluntarily reevaluate the work and redesign the project so it fit within the village’s budget.

But it may have been too late.

Instead of going with a custom-designed plan by Mr. Stott, Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving said last week, the new approach is to look at a pre-engineered building that will fulfill the needs of the ambulance company and be under budget.

“The original design was over budget and unacceptable,” Mr. Irving said. “Since then, we have gone back to the drawing board and have mapped out our ‘real’ needs in design and approach.”

Mr. Stott said village officials never considered his redesigned plans and instead chose to look at a pre-engineered solution.

“Even if the redesign was discussed, I was not consulted,” Mr. Stott said. “This is a disservice to me and a disservice to the voters of Southampton Village who voted on a custom LEED-certified building.” “LEED” refers to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a certification for “green” construction that is energy efficient.

Mr. Stott said he expressed a willingness to work with the company who would construct the pre-engineered building, but officials stopped talking to him in March and refused to answer emails. He said he was told by Mr. Irving that any communications between them has to be in an official capacity.

“Ideally, I’d love to build the building the people deserve,” Mr. Stott said. “This is absolutely, without a doubt, the most stressful thing in my life. It could bankrupt me.”

Work in the amount of $185,009 was done by Mr. Stott, according to a lawsuit that was filed with the State Supreme Court.

The $185,009 represents two invoices from January and March 2017 that have not been paid as part of Mr. Stott’s contract with the village. Along with the $185,009, Mr. Stott is also seeking interest, costs and disbursements.

On Wednesday, Mr. Irving said Mr. Stott was paid for the work he did under the contract with the Village. Mr. Irving added that any disput Mr. Stott has involves extras that were not part of the contract and were never approved.

Village Attorney Wayne Bruyn said Mr. Stott’s contract was terminated about a month ago. A letter was sent to Mr. Stott on September 15 giving him a 30-day notice that his contract would be terminated on October 17, and two weeks after he received the letter, on September 29, Mr. Stott filed a notice of claim with the village.

Mr. Irving said the project is moving forward, and bid specs are being collected, adding that he hopes to be back on track with a more reasonable project for the village.

“There are a couple of issues that need resolving, but I feel that by late spring we should have a good feel of getting the project going,” he added.

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Hopefully the original contract was clear, and did not provide that the architect's fee was dependent on the project's bids coming in "on budget," nor on any other contingency.

Any chance of posting a PDF of the contract, which is presumably a public document available under the FOIL laws?

Further updates from Mayor Irving, or the Village Attorney, would be interesting to hear regarding the reasons for non-payment.

By PBR (4940), Southampton on Dec 6, 17 11:34 AM
Because it was a complete rip off and a prefab barn for a volunteer ambulance garage is just fine. $200,000 to draw a barn. You people need to get out of the hamptons.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Dec 7, 17 4:14 AM
Lawyers DEMAND retainers - why didn't this man get a 65% deposit?? careless on his part to do all that work without protection
By villavecchio (6), Southampton on Dec 6, 17 12:37 PM
Must've thought he could trust the Trustees. PAY UP PIKERS!!!
By deepchanel (82), Southampton on Dec 6, 17 1:49 PM
His is not a volunteer, pay his his do. You hired the man.
If you are building a headquarters building next to the police, don't put in a Morton type building. It would look out of place. You make everyone to build suitable buildings, don't skimp. Wait till the money is available and build for the future, not for time being.
Try saving some money and use standard supplies [windows, doors etc]. A Village Hall was needed 30 years ago and there is no future planning, go figure???
By knitter (1807), Southampton on Dec 6, 17 5:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
What an outrage! $200,000 tonfraw a picture of a barn! Of your services can be replaced by a prefab building perhaps you should have disclosed that before you tired to rip off the taxpayers. Holy mackerel. $200,000!? He’s going to be bankrupt after 30 years of outlandish fees? Not our problem
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Dec 7, 17 4:11 AM
It appears you do not understand what a contract is. Nor how one works. Village made a choice, then decided they didn't like what they chose. That is not the architect's problem. Just saying.
By East End 2 (147), Southampton on Dec 7, 17 8:32 AM
What do you know about the point system that governs LEEDS? Materials have to conform to certain criteria in such a structure. It's an extremely complicated, technical process that's required for the LEEDs certification process. If the Village agreed to have it be a LEEDS building then shame on them. The other side of the argument is that the LEEDS structure will be so energy efficient and non-polluting and it will ultimately be better built and pay for itself long before its lifespan is over. You ...more
By kvetch (14), Southold on Dec 12, 17 11:49 AM
1 member liked this comment
He was paid $400,000. He wants another $200,000. He is not an architect. He is an enemy of the taxpayers who appears to have had his scam thwarted by a change in management.

We don’t need a LEEDS certified garage. At $600,000 for the drawings alone it’ll take 200 years to pay for this outrage. Someone needs to go to jail
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Dec 14, 17 2:55 AM
The building the village originally asked Mr Stott to design was not a simple ambulance barn. It was a ridiculously oversized, gold plated Bentley of a building of around 10,000 square feet if I recall properly. It no wonder someone with some fiscal responsibility later nixed it. Bottom line is Mr Stott designed what he was asked to and should be paid for it.
By bird (808), Sag Harbor on Dec 7, 17 12:21 PM
Anybody else seeing issues with this mayor?
By Draggerman (924), Southampton on Dec 7, 17 9:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
I have. He isn’t enriching himself and his friends/family. He thinks it’s stupid to spend more on a drawing than most Americans pay for a home. Oh he also doesn’t wear sweatpants to work. You?
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Dec 8, 17 6:13 AM
I know this guy made dozens of changes and designed a beautiful ambulance center. The real question is why has there never been an ambulance Barn built? The voters voted yes and the money was put aside and the ambulance volunteers are still working out of an undersized Shack. People that volunteer their time should at least have a respectable place to go!
By chief1 (2748), southampton on Dec 9, 17 12:23 AM
No need. A garage with a coffee maker is fine. This isn’t Dubai. What is with you nuts?
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Dec 9, 17 5:44 AM
“A garage with a coffee maker”. Cute.

And a meeting room. And a day room for standbys. And a medical supply room. And an office. And restrooms.
By Draggerman (924), Southampton on Dec 9, 17 6:17 AM
I just spoke with my daughter who can really draw. She’ll draw your barn for $20,000. A 90% discount. She insists she’ll use a ruler and paper with lines.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Dec 10, 17 5:11 AM
You can build a 4000 square foot ambulance Barn for 600,000 forget the plans
By chief1 (2748), southampton on Mar 25, 18 10:16 PM
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton