Contractors file liens against Epicentre for unpaid work

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by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 18 at 5:23 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Workers who helped build the immensely popular Epicentre in uptown Charlotte haven't been paid for their work a year after the party spot opened.

Now, the Epicentre's main contractor and several subcontractors have filed liens trying to get their money.

"Over $51,000 right now," Karen Codespoti said, referring to the amount she's owed for granite work at the Epicentre's Strike City bowling alley.

Codespoti owns Luna Stone in Concord.

"This one here they asked for. This one here they got -- expert fabrication, expert installation," she said while showing Newschannel 36 the granite she installed at the Epicentre.

Rick Treadaway says his family business, Treadaway & Sons Painting and Wall Covering, is owed about $58,000 for painting parts of the Epicentre.

"They haven't paid one dime of that," Treadaway said.

Both Treadaway and Codespoti filed liens against Advanced Construction and Consulting -- the Epicentre's main contractor -- trying to get their money.

An e-mail we obtained shows ACC offering Codespoti 50 cents on the dollar for her work, saying ACC was hurting, too.

Codespoti calls the offer an insult.

"You owe us the money. Pay us the money and be done with it," Codespoti said.

But the buck doesn't stop with ACC. In fact, ACC argues it can't pay its subcontractors because the Epicentre's developer, Afshin Ghazi from the Ghazi Companies, hasn't paid $1.8 million it owes ACC for Epicentre work.

ACC recently filed a lien for that money.

The Epicentre has been open for a year and is a big success. Now, the businesses that helped build it are at risk of closing.

"We're staying above water, but barely," Treadaway said.

Treadaway & Sons laid off half its staff because it hasn't been paid from the Epicentre work.

"We don't know how much longer we can maintain this. It's by the grace of God we've made it this long," Treadaway said.

Codespoti now puts all her company's expenses on a credit card and says she could close any day.

"There was five people total we had to lay off. They'd all be here right now (if we had gotten paid)," she said.

The Treadaways are now asking the city of Charlotte to audit Ghazi's construction expenditures. That's because the city gave Ghazi $500,000 in tax money to get the project going.

NewsChannel 36 called Ghazi twice on Tuesday, but he hasn't returned our calls.

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