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BELLEVUE, WA-Developer Eugene Horbach is suing the general contractor of its $100-million Technology Tower office project in downtown Bellevue.

DPR Construction filed an $8.8 million lien against the project and walked off the job in May after Horbach failed to make a $2.47-million payment on time. Horbach’s lawsuit claims the lien was grossly inflated, was in retribution for Horbach’s request for an audit of the project, and significantly hurt the project’s chance of gaining financing. DPR says it has done nothing wrong and looks forward to the opportunity to defend itself in court.

Horbach’s lawyers are Spencer Hall and Janet McEachern of the Seattle law firm of Hall Zanzig Widell. The suit says Bellevue Technology Tower LLC and DPR struck a contract in the summer of 2000 covering several million dollars work of work and planned future negotiations for the balance of the project.By the following spring, work had well several million beyond the initial contract, but Horbach continued to pay draw requests with the understanding that an audit would eventually occur. In May, DPR sent the default notice and promptly stopped work.

Later that month, Horbach alleges DPR agreed to restart work for several hundred thousand dollars, but didn’t start work. Instead, it sent notice it was terminating the contract unless it got another, similarly sized payment.

Horbach claims to have issued the check and hired Arthur Anderson to conduct an audit. When the accounting firm said it wasn’t provided all the information it requested, Horbach stopped payment on the check.

Meantime, city officials are trying to assess whether the eight-story hole for the project will cave in or not if left as is for too long. DPR built about three of the tower’s eight levels of underground parking before the work stopped at the site, located at the corner of Northeast Fourth Street and 108th Avenue Northeast. The city wants to know if the whole garage needs to be built to ensure stability op the hole.

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