The Dayton Dutch Lions soccer team is suing Jess Construction, the company hired to complete practice fields next to West Carrollton High School.
The civil lawsuit filed earlier this month in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court alleges that Jess added costs to the project and then miscalculated when leveling the fields, leaving areas that the team says are unsafe and unable to be used.
The suit says the field was supposed to be ready by the fall of 2012 at a cost of $68,000 and that Jess Construction failed to compact and properly grade the fields after an irrigation system was put in place.
The suit also says the Dayton Dutch Lions (DDL) has hired another contractor to top-dress the fields, a move that will cost more than $60,000 and take five years to reach original specifications.
DDL said the situation “damaged DDL’s reputation by not being able to showcase the team at a ‘home field’ in the local community” and that “any attempt to use them for games or full-field practice could result in severe injury.”
No answer to the complaint has been filed in court by Jess Construction’s attorneys. Jess Construction President Steve Sarver said the allegations in the suit are untrue, but deferred to a letter that his attorney, Travis Fliehman, wrote to the Dayton Dutch Lions’ attorney.
The letter states, in part, “The uneven surface that now exists on the soccer fields is a direct result of the installation of the irrigation lines and the inappropriate manner in which those locations were back-filled, which was performed by West Carrollton Schools (not Jess Construction).” The letter states that Jess Construction is not negligent and did not fail to perform according to the contract.
The Dayton Dutch Lions are a member of the United Soccer Leagues professional division. The DDL also have a women’s team, youth clubs and have affiliated teams in Cincinnati and Houston. The Lions played their first three seasons at Bellbrook High School and played home games last season at Beavercreek High School.
In an interview published in February 2013 on www.stadiumjourney.com, Dayton Dutch Lions co-owner and President Mike Mossel is quoted as saying: “The two grass fields were supposed to be ready, but we are not happy with the results, so the construction company needs to redo the top surface. This means we will try to have them ready for the fall. As far as the (West Carrollton High School) stadium, we are still looking to put a new synthetic surface in. It’s not an easy task to find investors to put money into a school property, but I can see this happening in the coming years.”
An employee at the Dutch Lions office said Mossel was in the Netherlands and attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.
The suit is asking the court for compensatory, punitive damages, attorney fees, court costs, interest any other judgment deemed by the court.
The suit also alleges that Jess Construction found out that there was more clay in the ground than originally anticipated. “As a result, it submitted an invoice to the DDL for additional money and stopped the excavating until DDL agreed to pay the extra money,” the suit said.
West Carrollton Superintendent Rusty Clifford said his school’s boys and girls soccer teams used the fields all fall and worked around some ruts and sprinkler heads. “It was in high school quality condition,” Clifford said. “Did it meet professional standards? I’m not the judge on that.”