Greenbrier plans countersuit against Aspen, GGD


CHARLESTON – Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice said the lawsuits filed against the resort by Aspen Corp. for failing to pay $1.275 million for landscaping work prior to the Greenbrier Classic golf tournament were about sub-par workmanship.

In Aspen's lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 29 in Greenbrier Circuit Court, Aspen claimed it performed all its duties accordingly and that the Greenbrier failed to pay for the costs.

On Oct. 21, George Golf Design filed a suit in the U.S. District Court at Beckley against Justice, claiming it and its president, Lester George, were hired to redesign Hole No. 16 of the Old White; to design a logo; to design the Old White's landscaping plan; and to perform other work, which included landscaping designs for the tournament entrance and bus drop off. It claims that the resort and Justice both approved the costs and fees for each task and the work was completed on time, but the Greenbrier still failed to pay.

GGD also claimed that in April, it entered into a contract with Justice to author a book titled, "The History of the Old White Golf Course," of which it was agreed that GGD would author for $80,000, plus a percent of the sales.

GGD seeks $139,885 it claims is owed on the landscaping and logo contracts and $60,000 it claims is owed on the book contract.

But, Justice said that in both cases, they had done a good bit of work on the golf course, then decided to do a lot of flower gardens in different places on the course and he agreed to the costs. George decided to do the project because the Greenbrier grounds people could not get all the work done before the tournament, but Justice said it performed "sub-par work."

Justice said the Greenbrier grounds people decided to take over the project because of the sub-par work done by Aspen and GGD, so that it could get done before the tournament, but then were informed they had already paid for the work, so they instead supervised Aspen in the completion.

The material already put in the flowerbeds was at a pH level toxic to plants, so the plants died and the Greenbrier had to replace them all, Justice said.

"I've been perfectly willing to try to settle this in an amicable manner," Justice said. "There are still plantings done by Aspen all over the property that we've had plants die and we've had to replace them."

Justice said this is not a matter of the Greenbrier not paying for work.

"It's a matter that the work done was done in such a horrible fashion and then we had to do the work and now we've expected them to reasonably bill us for sub-par work and warrant what they should be warranting," he said.

Justice said the Greenbrier cleared up the $3 million lien filed on Oct. 8 by Clancy & Theys Construction, which built the resort's underground casino, but that he was still working on a counter suit against Aspen and GGD.

Twenty employees were recently fired from the Greenbrier's accounting and purchasing departments, Justice said, after he learned there were other vendors that were not being paid on time.

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