Company Claims Taxpayer Money Being Wasted in Canalside Legal Dispute

December 6, 2013 Updated Dec 6, 2013 at 9:36 AM EDT

By Ed Reilly

December 6, 2013 Updated Dec 6, 2013 at 9:36 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) It has been nearly two years and the historically aligned replica canals that are a signature part of Buffalo's Canalside project are still unfinished.

In May 2013, DiPizio Construction from Cheektowaga was notified by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) that it was being fired because of being excessively behind schedule.

The construction company claimed that changes by the State's design team to the $20 million dollar contract, specifically in regards to the disposal of contaminated soil and the purchase of granite, caused the delays.

DiPizio filed several lawsuits over the termination.

In November, a state supreme court judge issued two summary judgements in the company's favor saying that $2-million dollars in extra expenses incurred for the soil removal and granite were not DiPizio's responsibility

Negative publicity over the project's delays and the company's termination has "devastated the business," said Rosanne DiPizio.

Now DiPizio representatives are speaking out in hopes in hopes of reaching a settlement with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.

"We can't seem to get an audience with anybody that would want to resolve this," added Rosanne DiPizio.

The construction company is also working to rebuild its reputation which it says was tarnished by the Canalside controversy.

Company representatives say the on-going dispute is wasting taxpayer money and they filed a Freedom of Information Request in mid-October seeking answers about how much was being spent on defending the NYS-backed Erie Canal Harbor Corporation in the legal actions.

So far, there are no answers.

"My belief is that the costs have already exceeded half-a-million dollars and there is no end in sight," commented Tony Farina, spokesperson for DiPizio.

Officials from the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation declined to comment citing the on-going legal actions.

Pike Construction from Rochester has since been hired to finish the replica canal work which is scheduled to be done by Summer 2014.