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Showdown Looms Over Failure to Mothball Belmont

A simmering dispute over the bungled mothballing of the Belmont Learning Complex is headed for a showdown today, when the Los Angeles Board of Education is expected to authorize the hiring of a new contractor to seal the unfinished high school against the weather.

But, capping a heated exchange of letters, developer Temple Beaudry Partners warned Monday that a move by the district to take it off the job would constitute termination of its contract, setting up a possible court battle over the finances of the environmentally plagued project.

The board has scheduled a closed session to vote on a resolution declaring that Beaudry Partners “appears unable or unwilling to complete such work in a reasonable time or within budget.”

It instructs project director Edwin Weyrauch to obtain bids from at least three contractors and select one.

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The board voted in July to slow work and make the site secure against the elements pending a decision on whether to abandon the $200-million project.

Saying the work was behind schedule, Weyrauch on Nov. 22 ordered Temple Beaudry Partners and its contractor Turner/Kajima to “demobilize from the site and cease all construction” if it could not promise to close open windows and walls by Dec. 17.

Kenneth Reizes, principal executive for development partner Kaijima Urban Development, retorted that the district had caused the delays by holding payments to subcontractors and not setting clear direction.

“We find . . . the direction . . . to be arbitrary, vague and misleading to the point of providing impossible tasks and deadlines,” Reizes said.

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