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Contractor protests to get payment
Rochester, N.Y. - Mary Ellen Belding has owned her own construction company for 30 years. She takes pride in being a woman business owner. But she said some contractors hire women and minorities to get grants for big projects, but don’t always pay them.
She said it happened to her company several times and she has spent thousands on lawyers to get contractors to pay up.
That’s why she is taking her protest to the street. She carried a sign along with two other female contractors outside the construction of Brooks Crossing—housing for the University of Rochester on Genesee Street.
Her company was hired to do the interior concrete work for that project but she said she walked off the job because she wasn’t being paid. She said she is owed $67,000.
She has filed liens against the contractor and taken other legal action but said she wants the public to know how their tax dollars are being used. She said contractors agree to hire minorities and women to secure grants, like the $900,000 for this Brooks Crossing project—but she said they don’t always pay up- so they can’t finish the job.
She has appealed to Mayor Lovely Warren for help and said in a meeting Monday, Warren promised to look into this.
We reached out to the University of Rochester but did not hear back. We also called Catanary, the contractor who hired Belding’s company and DiMarco, the lead contractor on that project. Both declined comment, saying their lawyers are handling this.
Belding said she has had to refinance her home and use her retirement money to keep her company running. She said this kind of practice is driving small minority business out of business.
We will continue to follow-up on this story as we hear from others involved.