The city of Elk Grove is seeking more than $500,000 in damages from a contractor hired to build an “Olympic-quality” aquatics center.
In a lawsuit filed in Sacramento Superior Court earlier this year, the city accuses P3 International LLC of falsely representing its credentials to build the project and then failing to deliver on the contract approved in October 2013.
The contract called for the Sacramento company to bring together a team that would design, build and operate the aquatics complex. The lawsuit accuses P3 International of failing to provide a project design, budget and financing plan on time, though the city had met its end of the agreement by paying the company $525,000. The company also failed to attract an investor needed to complete the project, the city says.
The company could not be reached for a response. A phone number listed on the company’s website has been disconnected. Jeroen Gerrese, who once served as the company’s president, said in an email that he has not been associated with the company since February and declined to comment on the lawsuit’s allegations.
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As originally planned, P3 International was going to head a “public-private partnership” between Elk Grove and a collection of companies. The project was originally envisioned as a $56 million development that included a water park, with the city paying up to $14 million and P3 International attracting investors to pay for the rest, according to documents the city included in the lawsuit. The city would pay P3 International no more than $695,000.
In September 2014, the City Council approved scaled-down plans for the aquatics center, minus the water park, at an estimated cost of $17 million.
The city will close bidding Thursday for a new contractor to replace P3 International. The city prequalified 10 contractors for the work, said spokeswoman Kristyn Nelson.
In the lawsuit, the city accuses P3 International of representing itself “as having special expertise or superior knowledge about the design, construction and operations of an aquatics complex,” claims that were “not true or were grossly overinflated.”
In his proposal to Elk Grove’s assistant city manager, Gerrese wrote in 2013 that “P3 International has assembled a highly experienced team of professionals to design, build and operate both a competitive venue and regional training facility for water sports, as well as a commercially operated recreational water and adventure park facility.”
The P3 International website says Gerrese worked in the hotel industry prior to joining P3, most recently managing a Marriott resort in Dana Point. The website says the company specializes in public-private partnerships and lists a handful of projects it participated in, including a school in Truckee.
The city of Roseville hired P3 International several years ago to help plan its proposed hotel and conference center. The company met the contract objectives and the city abandoned the idea because officials did not like the financing options, spokesman Brian Jacobson said.