SUTTON — Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday to terminate the $42 million contract with TLT Construction Corp. of Wakefield for the beleaguered middle/high school construction project.
The vote came days after state Rep. Ryan Fattman, R-Webster, sent a letter to state Attorney General Martha Coakley asking her office to investigate TLT for improprieties in dealing with Sutton and other municipalities on building contracts.
According to the motion made by Selectman Kenneth Stuart, grounds for termination of the contract, signed June 23, 2011, include TLT's failure to execute the work in a timely manner, failure to provide appropriate personnel and materials for the work and failure to pay subcontractors in a timely manner.
On Sept. 5, 2013, following months of building delays caused substantially by subcontractors not being paid and appropriate materials not purchased, town officials placed a claim on the performance bond held by Western Surety for the proper completion of the project.
Town Counsel Thomas W. McEnaney of Kopelman and Paige told selectmen at Thursday's special meeting that the town received a letter from Western Surety's lawyer on Oct. 9 requesting town officials' consent to arrange for TLT to complete the project as specified in the contract.
Western Surety requested that if selectmen didn't agree to let TLT continue, then the board should vote to terminate its contract with TLT so the remaining funds could be used by the surety company for a new contractor to finish the project.
The board unanimously approved a motion by Selectman Richard Hersom not to give consent for TLT to continue with the project.
"We'll participate with the surety on selection of the new contractor," Mr. McEnaney said after the meeting.
He did not indicate how long the selection process would take.
According to reports filed with the Massachusetts School Building Authority, Sutton had paid TLT $25 million as of May 31, the last time it issued payment to the general contractor, leaving $17 million in the balance.
The total building project, including fees for architects and project management, is $57.6 million. The town would be reimbursed for up to roughly half of the eligible costs by the MSBA.
Immediately after the meeting, Mr. Fattman provided the Telegram & Gazette with a copy of a letter he sent last Friday to the attorney general, requesting a formal investigation into TLT Construction Corp. and its dealings with Sutton.
He said in a phone interview that TLT misled Sutton and other municipalities about the firm's litigation history and its ability to complete the job.
"The town of Sutton was basically ripped off and there's no question that TLT should be accountable for that," he said. "We just want to weed out the people that are bad actors."
Mr. Fattman said that his request has been acknowledged by the attorney general's office but he has not heard anything further.