A legal battle may be brewing between New Jersey and the Sandy recovery contractor it fired last month.
Hammerman and Gainer, or HGI, was hired to run New Jersey’s main Sandy recovery grant for homeowners. Its contract was supposed to run until May 2016, but instead ended quietly in January.
Earlier this week, a state official said its contract was cut short because of unspecified performance issues.
For eight months’ worth of work, HGI has invoiced the state for payments totaling more than $50 million, though its original contract had a budget of $67 million over three years.
HGI claims the state asked for “work that extended beyond the scope of the services delineated in the contract,” according to documents released Wednesday through an open records request by The Fair Share Housing Center, a housing advocate. The company alleges it’s still owed $18 million and wants an arbitrator to settle the dispute.
It also said the state required work to be completed “within an accelerated time frame not contemplated by the terms of the contract,” and that those demands “far exceeded the manpower and services upon which the initial budget was estimated.”
A representative from the state’s attorney general could not immediately provide a comment on the case, but a letter from early February shows the state asked HGI to withdraw its request for arbitration, which it deemed premature. According to earlier agreements, the state said it was permitted two weeks after receiving a final invoice from HGI to calculate how much it thought the company was owed.
When HGI was fired last month, state officials said they would take a more active role overseeing the grant.