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Financial status in flux for Elkhorn contractor

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STANLEY B. MILAM
April 3, 2012
— The financial status of Elkhorn contractor Mann Bros. is unclear following reports it is not paying subcontractors on state and county highway projects.

A lien has been filed naming Walworth County, Elkhorn contractor BR Amon & Sons and Mann Bros. The lien, filed by Western Culvert of Oconomowoc, resulted in a work stoppage on three Walworth County projects, said Peggy Watson, office/purchasing manager for Walworth County.


"Mann is a subcontractor to Amon, as is Western Culvert," Watson said. "Western is claiming it has not been paid by Mann, therefore, we have stopped payments."


The payment issue has affected work on County A, County J and County ES. Watson said work will resume after the bonding company sorts out the payments.


"There is a performance/payment bond in place to protect the projects," Watson said. "It's just a matter of having the bond company work through the issues."


On large construction projects, contractors are required to file a bond that acts as an insurance policy to pay for the completion of the project if financial issues arise.


The Gazette was unable to reach Mann Bros. for comment Monday. A company representative who answered the phone said she left messages for CEO David Mann. He did not return the calls.


One of several state highway projects affected by the payment issue is the Highway 14 Fitchburg bridge and interchange in Dane County. Beth Cannestra, director of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Bureau of Project Development, said the Dane County project is held up because Mann Bros. is not paying its subcontractors and suppliers, but the project remains on schedule.


"We will work with the bonding company to resume construction," she said.


As is the case in Walworth County, the state has a performance/payment bond which protects the Highway 14 project, Cannestra said.


The state is not aware of Mann Bros. corporate status, Cannestra said, but she said she assumes it could continue to work on the project.


"We have been working with the bonding company to get the project moving again," Cannestra said. "We will get the subcontractors and suppliers paid and hire a general contractor. It could be a new one or Mann Bros. We're not sure yet what will happen, but we know work will resume soon."



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