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Times sues College Pt. plant contractor over sewage

The newspaper has charged Lehrer McGovern Bovis, the general contractor for the College...

By Alexander Dworkowitz

The New York Times recently scored a small court victory in a case fought over sanitary and fire protection problems at the paper’s College Point production plant.

The newspaper has charged Lehrer McGovern Bovis, the general contractor for the College Point plant, with failures in the construction of the $350 million facility.

State Supreme Court Judge Ira Gammerman issued a written statement last Thursday in which he allowed the paper to file additional charges of fraud and gross negligence on top of breach of contract charges, said Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The Times.

The Times originally filed suit against Bovis in November 2000.

The newspaper company contends the 700 workers in its giant 515,000-square-foot plant, which sits on the Whitestone Expressway between 20th Avenue and Linden Place, have had to deal with faulty sewage and fire systems.

There have been numerous sewage blockages, broken pipes and leaks due to flawed construction, Mathis said.

Mary Costello, a spokeswoman for Bovis, said little about the suit.

“Because of the pending litigation, we really can’t get into details,” she said.

The Times, which is currently fixing the problems, said it is seeking the cost of remediation from Bovis in its suit.

Based in Manhattan, Bovis has participated in many large construction projects around the world. Bovis was one of the construction companies that helped build the Petronas Towers, the world’s tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The College Point plant opened in 1997. The five-color printers at the plant allowed The Times to insert color into sections of the daily paper, which had been limited just to the Sunday editions.

The 80-foot-tall plant churns out about 425,000 copies of the paper everyday and 600,000 on Sundays.

The Times’s largest printing plant is a 1,000,000-square- foot facility in Edison, N.J. The paper is also printed at 13 additional sites throughout the nation.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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